Cloak/Dagger - Lost Art (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Lost Art (2009)

Jade Tree

January is a perfect month for checking out all the records I missed out on the previous year. 2009 held a good 365 days of rocking, so much so that I couldn't fit everything in. So, uh...have youse guys heard of this band called Coalesce? I think they're good. Yes, that is what I think. Same for Baroness. Oh hey, this just in, Weezer's Raditude is bad. More like Badlikeinasuckywayitude. Oh look, is that a new Cloak/Dagger album? Hey, this is pretty good. Man, 2010 is looking to be a good year for--

Oh, Cloak/Dagger's Lost Art came out in like Nov. 2009? My blast.

Lost Art subtly tweaks the hardcore leanings of Cloak/Dagger's full-length debut, We Are. This time out, the band is a little less indebted to Black Flag. There's more of a garage rock sound -- think of the Troggs, or any of the obscurities featured on Back from the Grave. This is a roundabout way of saying Cloak/Dagger sounds like a not-shitty version of the Hives, I guess, but I really want to stress the "not shitty" element.

See, if there's a knock against Lost Art, it's that the 13 tracks it houses blur together, even after repeat viewings. Each song bashes, thrashes and crashes for about two minutes or so; lead guitarist Collin Barth plays some squealing geet-parts and drummer Colin Kimble pounds the dickens out of his kit. Every time. The recording is a little bit cleaned up compared to We Are, but overall, it's a clear sequel to that album, in that it's different but the same.

Get past how Lost Art doesn't reinvent the concept of music, though, and it reveals itself as a nice lil 30-minute collection. Given that so many of the songs deal with how things used to be better, I feel like the band's shift towards older punk sonics was deliberate. "Lower Eastada" spins a quick tale about surviving in New York City during 1977 which, if I wasn't so young and flippant, I might call an important year for punk rock. Interestingly, "Lost Art" directly connects the past to the present, as frontman Jason Mazzola looks at previous generations and finds himself wishing he could hold onto some semblance of a golden age. "Stay young until you die / Take my advice, don't even try," he realizes. Other tracks like "In My Orbit" and "Billions Millions" reach similar conclusions, although closing track "Tragic Sleep" tries to go out on a halfhearted high note -- "There's no more tragedy / At least none I can see / It's time to look on the bright side / Things are looking up."

Lost Art is cohesive, punk-tastic and pretty good to boot. Plus, it rocks hard enough that the lyrics shouldn't bum listeners out too much.