dinsdag 22 april 2014

Here and nowhere else. Cloud Nothings

'Attack on memory' (2012) was Cloud Nothing's breakthrough record. Not in the sense that the band from Cleveland scored number one hitsingles, but certainly in the sense that the band was noticed and received critical acclaim. Here and nowhere else is the band's third album and easily meets expectations. Basically Here and nowhere else continues where 'Attack on memory' left off. The punky alternative rock is all over both albums, with the former being a little more focused. Cloud Nothings is simply playing a little bit better, wrote a tat more melodic songs and just a little less experiment. A fall for commercialism? No, for that the sound is still too rough, too loud and too shaky. A hint that Cloud Nothings could go off in a more commercial direction in the future? Yes, perhaps, but who can look into the future? Not even Dylan Baldi, the principle member of Cloud Nothings can do that. Although he may have a plan.

As far as his plans for 2014 go, it seems that he's developed a strategy to rock as much and hard as possible. Cloud Nothings is a trio. Next to Baldi, there are drummer Jayson Gerycz, and bassist TJ Duke. The rhythm section pounds away, filling the whole space, together with the rhythm guitar of Baldi. Over all this noise, melodic yes, but noise, Baldi either sings or shouts with a voice that seems to be hanging in there by its last shreds of vocal chord threads. Second, third or fourth guitars sometimes breakaway from the mould to throw in some extra, sometimes quite dissonant, notes.

For a band that started as (one of the) bedchamber projects of David Baldi it sounds very tight. Baldi released music under various names. Cloud Nothings was the one that was picked up, so he needed a live band. The band is together for several years now and has made two albums together. It's not difficult to hear the progression. 'Progression walks' is the long song on Here and nowhere else, with an experimental interlude. The way the band fills in the finale shows the ability for interplay between the members. Gerycz is very much present, but he gives the song this extra loud beats and kicks after the interlude that makes 'Progression walks' simply explode. What power, what force! The second example of his power to change the course of a song is in opener 'Now hear in'. He just changes the pace and intensity and creates something like a song within 'Now hear in'. Two different times as well.

Here and nowhere else is not for the faint-hearted. The production is not fantastic. It is aimed more at projecting energy than beauty. The guitars sound harsh (and loud, but you knew that already), for maximum effect. Producer John Congleton has managed to capture the storm that Cloud Nothings is on tape (or digits) in its full fury. Nothing has been done to make things more prettier than they are. 'Now hear in' opens Here and nothing else. Anyone who gets through this song and is enjoying him or herself is in for a treat. Punky, snotty, a bit arrogant and certainly in your face.

Cloud Nothings is at the top of its game. I thought 'Attack on memory' a good album, this one's better. A lot better. Therapy?'s 'Screamager' is a starting point and then just forget anything else. I'm also thinking about The Thermals' first album, but quality of songs wise this is no comparison. Dylan Baldi's songs are so much better. There are moments that a little self-restraint might have given a better song, but at what loss of energy? The end of 'Psychic trauma' is nothing but a tornado unleashed on unsuspecting ears. The Strokes? Yes, of course. Cloud Nothings is doing everything The Strokes have not developed into and will never reach at nor to (again). And Kurt certainly is in the singing. The good thing is, that all these influences are incorporated in something that is called Cloud Nothings. No copying, but a successful incorporation, creating something that is very much its own.

Cloud Nothings has made the next step in its career and all signs are on green. This is the album that can take the band to a next level. A favourite at the summer festivals. It remains to be seen where this story will end at. For now this reviewer and listener is very content. And again Cloud Nothings has come up with a stylish black and white, somewhat mysterious cover. I like that aspect of this band as well


You can listen to 'I'm not part of me' here.

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