The sound of Indiana’s Cloakroom is a combination that one may find odd at first glance. They have the big ambitious riffs of 90’s alt-rock ala Hum and Deftones mixed with a gentler, emotional approach to shoegaze that’s similar to Gleemer. Somehow they have managed to combine these polar opposites in aesthetic to great effect in second LP Time Well. What we get is a record full of chunky guitars stretched over wide ambient soundscapes. By slowing down the overall tempo of their rock sections and lengthening their songs, they have managed to meld the two together ideas without neutering the other.
Stretching out these songs gave them a lot of space to fill with elaborate riffs with more time to develop them. Yet it never feels meandering as there’s always something going on in each of these tracks. “Gone but Not Entirely” is filled with crashing waves of sound that churn at a constant pace of development, with underlying hooks and changes within make it hard to perceive that six and a half minutes have gone by when it ends. True to its name, these songs suspend you into a Time Well. It’s an album that has held my attention despite its hour long runtime, and that’s saying something considering the amount of distractions we have nowadays.
“Concrete Gallery” pits alt-metal with clean glimmering guitars and pouncing drums. Like every track in this record, this is strung along by a constant slew of changes that keeps things fresh. In this case it’s a slight shift in effects, a drum fill change-up, the continuous layering of guitars, and even a new theme that emerges on its halfway mark.
“Seedless Star” is composed of two alternating sections on a soft-loud scale. There’s a dreamy meditation of cool riffs that goes against the grinding anguish of heavy rock. They collide for space at first until finding finally common ground at its climactic end.
“Hymnal” is the most ambient song in this record. True to its title, it adapts a church melody with heavier instruments and an ironically slower tempo. The end result feels more bluesy and western, a slight departure from the rest of the record but a great addition shows Cloakroom’s versatility.
Another highlight is of course the title track, where the band uses a brooding acoustic drone with atonal vocal harmonies and various embellishments to create a rich atmosphere full of mystery and intrigue, ending a sprawling journey across a dreamy landscape.
Time Well is a well crafted LP that takes its time and while respecting the listener’s. If you’re a fan of guitar music in any shape or form, you won’t regret checking this out.