On Cloud Nothings’ 2012 album Attack on Memory, producer Steve Albini scoured reverb and fuzz to expose singer Dylan Baldi's facility with bittersweet melody. With John Congleton producing, Here and Nowhere Else presents Cloud Nothings as a grisly punk trio knocking out harrowing sing-alongs. Once again, however, Baldi is simply unwilling or unable to stop writing hooks, making the LP even more tensely conflicted than its predecessor. In the opener, “Now Hear In,” Baldi states with cold equanimity, “I can feel your pain/ And I feel alright about it.” Deeper into the disc, the strangulated repetition of “Just See Fear” directs the listener through the desolate wilderness of “Giving Into Seeing.”
Cloud Nothings have floated to where they try to put themselves into clear writing by ditching any verbal, mental, or instrumental baggage. Here and Nowhere Else mostly moves in one direction at a breakneck pace; by playing just ahead of the beat, taking charge of the song with torrential fills, new drummer Jayson Gerycz does everything in his power to try and throw it off course. His drums are (rightfully) put higher in the mix than the vocals, so his sound equally speaks for the group.
Baldi and Gerycz define the mind/body dynamic where restless legs and an urge for action serve paradoxical stasis. Closer “I’m Not Part of Me” should be considered their finest song to date. The victory lap serves as Baldi’s valedictory speech: “It starts right now/ There's a way I was before/ But I can’t recall how I was those days anymore.”
Cloud Nothings will play the Soda Bar on July 11.
- Album: Here and Nowhere Else
- Artist: Cloud Nothings
- Label: Carpark Records
- Songs: 1. "Now Hear In" 2. "Quieter Today" 3. "Psychic Trauma" 4. "Just See Fear" 5. "Giving Into Seeing" 6. "No Thoughts" 7. "Pattern Walks" 8. "I'm Not Part of Me"