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November 3, 2009

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One of the most respected bands in punk-rock right now, Cloak/Dagger's second album Lost Art provides an intriguing contrast between punk's past and present. Given the plethora of god-awful pop-punk goons and hardcore bands around today using distorted down-tuned guitars and indecipherable screamed vocals to pave over their lack of invention, Lost Art perfectly illustrates that the genre can still sound volatile and exhilarating in 2009 with clean-cut guitar tones and hyperactive rhythms.

Picking up right where 2007's We Are left off, 'Billions Millions' sets out at a breakneck speed and the pace never relents for one second, with Colin Barth's buzzsaw guitars frequently touching on the primal world's of Hot Snakes and Fucked Up. Elsewhere, the frantic 'Deathbed Rebels' is an effervescent ball of energy, 'In My Orbit' recalls Greg Ginn at his finest, while closing number 'Tragic Sleep' provides one of Lost Art's finest moment late on with its bouncing riffs and galloping drums.

All things considered Lost Art is a timely reminder of how exciting stripped down, no-frills punk can still be, but just don't expect its genius to be clogging up column inches in the likes of NME or Kerrang! any time soon.

Rock Midgets

Dan Jones