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August 30, 2007

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CLOAK/DAGGER is what punk rock needs right now. With crunchy, distorted guitars reminiscent of HOT SNAKES and DRIVE LIKE JEHU, mixed with the unrestrained shouting of frontman Jason Mazzola, the group plows through their 14 track debut, We Are, with reckless abandon. I can just imagine Mazzola spazzing around the studio, yelling his lines, as the rest of the band smashes their instruments around him in order to get the sound just right. The band wears their influences well, like the track “J.C. Pays the Bills,” which recalls 80’s hardcore like BLACK FLAG and MINOR THREAT with its quick drum beat backed by noodling guitars, paired with 20 seconds of vocals that attempt to keep up with the beat. The catchy as hell “Walk The Block” proves that they are fully capable of writing competent punk rock that satiates your desire for intelligent lyrics about everything from religion to government, combined with music that makes you want to punch a wall. Even a track like “Kamikazes,” which kicks off with a quasi-surf rock inspired guitar riff, demonstrates the bands ability to stray away from typical hi-hat driven, 3 chord punk rock and give a song a competent structure, past the usual verse/chorus/verse skeleton. It’s a no brainer that a group featuring members of COUNT ME OUT and TRIAL BY FIRE would sound this awesome, but it’s nice to see that the members of those bands have shown a true musical evolution that fills the void left behind by the guitar-driven HOT SNAKES after breaking up.


Jason Bergman