It took Cloud Nothings five years and three albums to finally perfect the melodic schizophrenia captured on Here and Nowhere Else—an 8-track compilation of fast guitars, amplified drum loops and dazed-out melodies.
Produced by John Congleton, who has worked with the likes of Dismemberment Plan and St. Vincent, the Cleveland trio ditch the sloppy aggressive song style of its 2012 groundbreaking LP Attack on Memory to revamp its sound into a 32-minute tightly wound, classic garage rock set list. Nevertheless, despite the clean cuts, the album is jam packed with twists and turns as Congleton presses an expansion of Cloud Nothings’ rhythmic palette.
The album opens with white noise headbanger jams “Now Here In” and “Quiter,” which grind together to generate the raucous punk screamer “Psychic Trauma.” A standout track, “Psychic Trauma” starts as a slow paced, mid-tempo indie scuzz, until the chorus kicks in, unleashing a storm of electric guitar licks and thundering drums as lead singer Dylan Baldi sneers: “I can’t believe that what you’re telling me is true/ My mind is always wasted listening to you.” This music apocalypse experienced in “Psychic Trauma” sets a new, raw tone for the band, both emotionally and musically, providing the proper transition into the punk-fired ballads that dominate the second half of the album.
The Cloud Nothings wind down its bold return with “Pattern Walks,”the album’s longest, and arguably, heaviest track. Clocking in at just shy of seven and a half minutes, “Pattern Walks” stretches out with a seething guitar rumble and grumbling bass groove, running into a wall of hazy reverb and squelching feedback that segues into the charging drums introduction of the group’s foot stomping lead single “I’m Not Part of Me.”
The single showcases Cloud Nothings true and sincere potential—its rhythms stripped of excess, and Baldi’s lyrics both snappy and introspective. The track’s chorus demonstrates Baldi’s considerable growth as a lyricist, as he cries out, “Leave it all to memory of what we did when we were young/ And now you could just leave me on my own/ Moving toward a new idea/ You’re not what I really needed.”
Here and Nowhere Else marks another great leap forward for Cloud Nothings, as they continue to hone and develop its own unique sound. Fast moving, riotous and bold, the album captures Cloud Nothings confidently delving into a new melodic and textural sound that will have listeners hooked and looking forward to what is to come.
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