Cloud Nothings | ARTIST
Here and Nowhere Else | ALBUM
Carpark | LABEL
1 April 2014 | RELEASE DATE
9.0 | 10
The line between punk and pop could not be more blurred on Cloud Nothings’ excellent new LP Here and Nowhere Else, the band’s finest effort to date. Songs such as “No Future/No Past” and “Stay Useless” hinted at the harmonious relationship brewing between the two sides, and lead singer Dylan Baldi and the rest of the band hit the main artery here, tapping into an unending well of urgent, pop-centered rock ’n roll.
Baldi, the 22-year old architect behind Cloud Nothings’ construction, has been put in the position of having his progression as a vocalist viewed by millions, not enjoying the anonymity other similarly aged musicians are allowed during their formative years. He certainly appears to have hit his stride on Nowhere Else, with his timing and execution having never been better.
The album’s middle section feature some of the best vocal melodies of the album, and Baldi shows considerable restraint, particularly on “No Thoughts,” where he tests his own patience, making the song’s final :30 one of the more affecting vocal performances from the opening months of 2014. The accompanying members of Cloud Nothings, bassist TJ Duke and drummer Jason Gerycz, continue to excel within the confines of the band, with each bringing their own personal intensity, challenging Baldi the whole way. On “Quieter Today,” Baldi pleads to “try to keep it quieter today,” but his own voice, and the beautiful racket his bandmates play behind him, makes his desperate plea ultimately futile.
The album breezes by at a breakneck pace, which falls right into the band’s strengths. “Try to stop it / Try to feel something / But nothing happens / I stay the same,” Baldi furiously sings during the stellar “Psychic Trauma.” In this instance, the band resembles something like an inner monologue for Baldi, with the thrashing and pounding inside his head finally winning out.
The show-stopping “Pattern Walks,” a 7+ minute tour de force, wastes no time cutting to the chase. A pummeling instrumental hits the audience before another high energy chorus, with a wonderful interplay between the band members following, carrying the track for several minutes. Then Baldi’s effect-laden vocals come pouring in, creating a hypnotic, surreal experience, which can summarize the experience of listening to Here and Nowhere Else: completely natural yet wholly unexpected. The best of both worlds.