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August 8, 2007

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The riff anchoring this 99-second shitstorm has the fury of pre-Rollins Black Flag (it’s a close cousin to “Nervous Breakdown”), but the discipline of X’s Billy Zoom. Cloak/Dagger call themselves a hardcore band, and that’s sort of accurate, but they’re clearly cognizant of punk’s limitations even as they get off on the rush of mounting this kind of headlong sonic assault. The awareness that other possibilities are open to them only takes them so far, though; the guitar and drum sounds owe a lot to the Flat Duo Jets, and they’ve got a psychobilly swing to their kicking and screaming (check out the drum roll that starts off album opener “Bended Knee”). Plus, they never go noisy for noise’s own sake, unlike, say, the massively overrated Pissed Jeans. This is punk with just enough self-awareness to realize that mere pummel and phony “attitude” won’t cut it in a world of jaded adults with long memories. With luck, their smarts will rub off on punk rock kids with no memory of anything older than the last Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards album.

An email Q&A with Cloak/Dagger

Why are your songs so long?
Right label, wrong band.

You claim to be “hardcore,” but I don’t hear anything that’s gonna make shirtless dudes turn their caps backward and hump each other in the pit.
The good kind of hardcore, not that kind. Although I have seen some spin kicks at some of our shows—why, I have no idea. In five years they might like us, when they stop fighting the invisible man.

Would the world be a better place today if Lee Ving had been as influential a musician/thinker as Bono is now?
Have you seen The Decline Of Western Civilization?

Paper Thin Walls

Phillip Freeman