REVIEW: cleopatrick make music for sad youths searching for honesty and genuineness
"FAMILY VAN" is the newest track from Canadian rock duo cleopatrick, a band made up of best friends Luke Gruntz on vocals and guitar, and Ian Fraser on drums. It's a long-awaited fan favorite, the demo was leaked almost a year prior to this release, and it is two years in the making entirely. “FAMILY VAN” is what we have come to know to be classic cleopatrick style — fuzz filled, noisy, raw guitar and killer drums combined with lyrics on the side of both confession and therapy.
About their music, Luke says: “We want our music to feel as big as hip hop does in the club - big subs and loud drums and vocals right up front. But lyrically, we want to sing songs that everyone in the crowd feels comfortable singing along to. There’s a [historical] formula to rock music where people sing about drugs and alcohol and sex and it’s so fucking phony; it makes us so angry that kids who want to hear guitar music and get something from it and have a favourite band have to settle for that, and listen to these dudes lying to them. It’s so gross to me and completely the opposite of how this genre started.”
“FAMILY VAN'' cements who cleopatrick are and what they are about better than any other track so far in their discography, rivaling perhaps, “SANJAKE.” There's no vague, unassuming way to put this — it speaks of the band proclaiming that they know what rock should be, and that everyone should stand up and listen to them. “Now all you rock dummies double take when I talk.” They want to encourage others to follow in their footsteps the beaten path they haven chosen to walk on, to be more like them. And what they mean by that is not in sound, not in lyrics, not in aesthetic, not in anything like that - cleopatrick want you to be yourself and nobody else, honestly, openly, genuinely. They want to get back to the roots of rock ‘n roll - when it was just people who picked up instruments one day and sang & wrote the sounds of their hearts and minds, not trying to impress or manipulate, just people who were trying to be as they are inside, on the outside, through music.
cleopatrick are known for their disdain with rock, saying that rock of the past and still now is flawed in the way that the motto of "sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll" is gross, untrue, unhealthy, and fake. It isn't what cleopatrick follow, it isn't what they believe in or make music about, and it’s unfortunately what the band sees taking over the charts.
cleopatrick differs from this typical way of rock and make music that is closer to punk and grunge in both sound and lyrics, making guitar-driven music about real life, real emotions, experiences, and feelings. Their music is not easily digestible, not easily forgettable, but deep and angst-filled, honest and raw. It makes you think about yourself and the world around you, it makes you give them a second, or third, glance. It entralls you, it fascinates you — why does this style of music catch on so well? They're deferring from the usual rock formula, they're not like everyone else on the top of the charts. cleopatrick’s music brings to mind a quote from the film Almost Famous (2000): “...rock and roll is a LIFESTYLE...and a way of thinking and it's not about money and “popularity!"- but it's a voice that says here I am... and FUCK YOU if you can't understand me.”
cleopatrick's music is not what will be sure to sell or appeal automatically to a large range of people, but that's what makes it memorable. That is what makes cleopatrick's music special and important, much like those who came before them, like Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana. They didn't follow what everyone else did, they didn't make music that was what they knew would sell. They made music as a pure, honest expression of the self. Not as a product, not as a marketing act, not as a cash-grab, and that is exactly what cleopatrick do. cleopatrick make real rock 'n roll music, which to me, means being yourself honestly, no-barriers, no lies, no bullshit. Just truth and guitars.
cleopatrick will be on tour this Fall with friends Ready the Prince and ZIG MENTALITY, in America and in the UK (RTP and ZIG MENTALITY not joining UK dates). You can pick up tickets here.
cleopatrick will be releasing their debut album, BUMMER, on June 4th, 2021. You can preorder it and buy related merch as well here.