On first listen it seems as though Dylan Baldi has gone off the boil. Opener ‘No Future/No Past’ begins slowly, spiralling into yelling of the phrase “Give up, come to, no hope, we’re through”. It’s ominous and dark, not like him at all.
Previous albums Turning On and last year’s self titled effort were fizzy, vibrant and oozed nerdy lo-fi cool. Now the production quality has been steadily bettered but not over-cooked and Mr Baldi seems to have found his angst. This is an album which blasts away any thoughts of stagnation.
‘Wasted Days’ begins to bring back the old sound but soon delves into a prog-rock breakdown with a bass line worthy of early Queens Of The Stone Age. There is yet more yelling, with Baldi sounding like he’s about to tear his lungs out as he screams “I thought I would be more than this” a feeling most young people must be able to relate to right now.
Where Baldi was once hard to understand, his words and subsequently, his motives are clearer now. Lines like “I need to know, I deserve to know” and “Is he gonna work out?” show a vulnerable young man who feels a lack of purpose in every aspect of his life.
It is the tracks which most resemble the old Cloud Nothings (‘Our Plan’ & ‘Fall In’) which past most easily by. Instead there is a yearning for this new found creativity. The lof-fi shackles have been thrown off while the indie guitar sound still serves a purpose.
‘Separation’ is a full, piping hot instrumental with dancing guitars as well as more dirty desert bass lines. Here the band show off their strengths as a unit.
Quite where direction this will lead Cloud Nothings is a mystery. It seems to be a darker, heavier and more teen angst based path. However, the fuzzy and bright guitars still pop up in places. Isn’t it exiting to have a progressive and surprising band around again?
Picture Credit: blikeng