When Cloakroom first materialized back in 2012, they did so modestly. A couple songs appeared on a Bandcamp page with a succinct description: “Cloakroom consists of three factory workers from the Region.” As far as biographies go, it’s about as terse as they come. But at the same time, it conveyed everything that they needed to get across, simple facts that speak to greater truths.
These are the facts as we know them now: Cloakroom still consists of three people, vocalist-guitarist Doyle Martin, bassist Robert Markos, and drummer Brian Busch. Though they were once factory workers, they’ve left the factories behind, but their jobs are still blue-collar. Martin splits his time between two different breweries, something Busch moonlights with as well while also managing a rental property. As for Markos, he’s a delivery driver, though he spends time writing for auto racing publications and making documentaries on the subject with his father. And that final part, about the Region, that unique amalgam of cities and towns in Northwest Indiana that’s equal parts industrial and rural? Well, that’s still true, too. Much like the Region is in its own way a part of Chicago, one listen to Cloakroom’s new album, Time Well, shows the area’s distinctive imprint is still just as pronounced.
For Time Well, the band’s Relapse Records debut and second full-length overall, the members of Cloakroom made a work that’s at once grandiose and deeply insular. Following the release of 2015’s Further Out on Run For Cover Records, the band toured alongside the likes of Brand New, Russian Circles, and Nothing. Those tours proved that Cloakroom makes perfect sense opening for instrumental post-metal bands and acts that cut their teeth on the pop-punk circuit, without adhering to either style. Cloakroom occupies a space between worlds, crafting its unique brand of thoughtfully heavy music, something Relapse has long specialized in. For Time Well, Martin, Markos, and Busch further explored the