This is cleopatrick.
They are a two-piece from Cobourg, Ontario, Canada and hard to label.
The obvious starting point is ‘rock’, but there is a bombastic flo and bang to their stripped down approach. It’s got a biting edge, but can roll smooth like a dark fog.
Besides having an amazing command of songwriting/structure… the bulk of the personality is drawn from singer/guitarist Ian Frazer who commands and shapes the bars of his poetry like a classically trained painter… knowing just when to add a subtle flourish… or an aggressive melee into the mix.
This formula is best exemplified by their latest single, “Family Van” from their April 2021 debut album, “Bummer”. The video is a great analogy to cleopatrick themselves. Stripped down. Basic. No frills. Straight from the heart. One shot, one edit. Some flashing lights and a mini-van is all cleopatrick really needs to make a video that just fucking bangs so hard.
But one must mention Luke Gruntz, the other half of cleopatrick. It’s his brilliant direction of percussion that crushes all in its wake when he opens the gates, but can also support the foundation… and even most impressive… know when to disappear all-together, giving the songs a great sense of range and dynamic. Tricky… when only working with a two piece.
The first track that garnered some attention for cleopatrick was a single called, “Hometown” released in 2017. It peaked at #6 on the US ‘mainstream rock’ charts. It’s a got nice slow burn intro… again… resting on Frazer’s easy vocal drawls until the song crashes down upon itself. cleopatrick are good at walking between radio friendly melodic hook vocals, and bleeding edge wall of guitars. Truly a ‘large’ sound emanating from a two piece. It’s moody and bruised.
They have gotten a good taste of some of the bigger festivals, appearing at Chicago’s 2018 Lollapalooza as well as the 2000 Trees Festival in England, and Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta.
There have a been a few notable two piece acts to have achieved some high profile success in the past decade or so. The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Modey Lemon, and most recently Royal Blood (which would be the closest sonic comparison to cleopatrick of the four). As a musician myself, I’ve always admired the ability of just two guys saying, ‘fuck it, I play guitar and sing, you play drums and sing… that’s all we need’. Done. Touring is cheaper. Less people to keep happy. It’s efficient.
And that is the basic charm of cleopatrick. They are efficient. No frills. Straight ahead. You feel what they are doing in the first 20 seconds of any track. It’s so easy to immediately ‘get’… yet it doesn’t sound very much like anything else… but… it’s also familiar and inviting, despite the obvious broken edges.
Witness, “The Drake”. Simple grungy guitars that support catchy ass bars of lyrics that flow and weave until the drums make all heads in earshot start to bop and nod in unison.
The band has been fairly prolific since their 2016 inception, and while their rise was probably stalled out by the shit-storm that was 2020… they seem to be producing their best material to date. The bands website seems busted as hell (none of the links really seemed to work)… but perhaps they might fix it.
They seem to be on tour the latter half of 2021, with a highlight being their Friday night appearance at the four day Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, KY in September. So track them down while they are still one of Canada’s best kept secrets. They won’t be for long.