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July 31, 2007

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Cloak/Dagger’s debut full-length, We Are (reading on the album’s jacket as We Are Cloak/Dagger) is quite an achievement for a band that, at first, was only supposed to be a temporary project. After recording a demo and doing a bit of touring it seems that Cloak/Dagger have decided to stick it out for a more extended stay.

Raw, urgent and aggressive, Cloak/Dagger are channeling some of the founding hardcore acts such as Black Flag, The Minutemen and others of the era. Not a “tribute” band by any stretch of the imagination, Cloak/Dagger are simply resurrecting a time when slick production and fancy packaging were not the main selling points of music.

We Are begins with a fast and gritty “Bended Knee.” The music is straightforward and uncomplicated, but its simplicity is balanced with a rough-hewn power that immediately makes you sit up and take notice. “New Year’s Resolution” features a rhythm line that is catchy enough to stick with you long after the track is over. And again on this track as with the rest of the album, you will find that roots hardcore sound and style. “Dia De Los Daggers” unsurprisingly features a sound that you might find in a spaghetti western, if it were directed and written by Ian MacKaye.

This record is not meant to be original, innovative, or cleanly produced. But what it is meant to do is be a great example of what hardcore once was. And in that We Are delivers in spades. All the aggressive energy you could ever want can be found on this record. Again as stated above this is by no means a tribute band or just a Black Flag clone, Cloak/Dagger definitely have a style that is theirs. But in that style they dig very deeply into the tomb of the hardcore of yore, and do a fantastic job doing it.

30 Music

James Dufendach