Further Out – Cloakroom

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Song titles like “Starchild Skull,” “Clean Moon,” and “Deep Sea Station” and the merch designs featuring UFOs and planets calling the band “Defenders of Inner-Space” paint a pretty good picture of what Northwest Indiana shoegaze/ punk band Cloakroom sounds like and the aesthetic they have created for themselves. The trio has just recently released their highly anticipated album Further Out, on Run for Cover Records, and despite being released in January, Cloakroom has assuredly secured a place on many “Album of the Year” lists for 2015 already.

Immediately it is clear that Further Out is how dynamic its sound is throughout the record. The band has clearly expanded their sound significantly since their impressive debut, Infinity, most notably in the layers of texture each song has throughout; adding up to a powerfully heavy sound that can be very quickly contrasted into a slower clarity, making each side of the band’s sound all the more impactful.

Further Out kicks off with “Paperweight”, an excellent opener that does a great job at establishing the variety of Cloakroom’s sound for the rest of the songs to follow. While “Paperweight” is one of the catchier songs on the release, it also features a great portion in the latter half of the song where everything slows down, entrancing in the listener in the process. “Starchild Skull” and “Asymmetrical” close out the first LP of the two LP release and they are easily two of the strongest tracks on the record. “Asymmetrical” both captures all the elements that make up Further Out’s sound and expands on them, climaxing during the midpoint of the track. Martin’s lyrics here are also very strong. “Took a long drive / got a few dents / made a few jokes at your expense” provides a great hook, and is one of points in this album sure to be stuck in your head days later.

Shifting to the second LP, “Clean Moon”, the first song on the side C, is an excellent example of how well a slightly scaled-back track can stand out amidst such heavy competition. “Sylph”, one of the interludes (“Mesmer” is the other), starts off next, which sets the stage for the incredible closer “Deep Sea Station.” Once again Martin’s detailed and figurative storytelling comes through here, with lines like: “Someone you knew / Someone you’ve got to keep down / to writhe in the depths / called out your name / safe from the fires of Hell / But death holds the bell” being particularly strong. There is a Side D to the record as well, featuring an instrumental track called “∞,” that picks up from where “Sylph” started off a few songs earlier. It is particularly enjoyable to listen to on vinyl thanks to the locked groove which, as the title alludes to, makes it seemingly go on endlessly.

Cloakroom’s ability to keep such a consistently heavy tone is juxtaposed by the atmospheric nature the band never loses grasp of, and it results in an incredibly cohesive collection of songs. Further Out is a document that expertly represents the feelings of exhaustion, escape, and isolation; and ultimately, provides an open doorway into the ever-expanding “Inner-Space” world that these three men from the Region have created so far. All you have to do is step inside.



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