Cloud Nothings

Last Building Burning

Carpark

Oct 30, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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Cloud Nothings took a lot of people by surprise with their 2017 album, Life Without Sound. A cleaner, studio-friendly concoction, it was downright soft and tuneful compared with the work that had made them such underground darlings. It is hard, therefore, not to see the opener of this record, "On an Edge," as some kind of statement. The most pummelling, blisteringly fast three minutes of their recorded career to date, it heavily redresses the balance and sets up Last Building Burning as a major return to form.

Lead single "The Echo of the World" is a titan, with dual interlocking guitars chiming and squalling over a bed of neck-strengthening speed punk rhythm. It is the fifth of five short sharp shocks that comprise the opening half of the record, all imbued with Dylan Baldi's rasping, streptococcal vocals which continue to lend a deeply honest dimension to their sound. It would, after all, be impossible not to mean it when you sing like that.

The band recorded everything in eight days with metal hipster Randall Dunn, who has moved Sunn O))) and Earth with his production fingers. It all results in a renewed urgency for the band, a sense of saddling up again after the brief and largely underwhelming foray into poppier waters. Melody is by no means a stranger here, but with this degree of intensity and with the knuckle-cracking drumming of Jayson Gerycz at full tilt, the promise of their breakthrough years is fully realized now.

The album's second half is dominated by the 11-minute "Dissolution." After a classic opening-three-minute Fugazi-worthy tune, we descend into deconstructed sound. An elongated stream of feedback is our one guiding light as peripheral cymbals, drums, and guitars tinker around the edges. After the 20-odd minute typhoon of anger and energy that has preceded it, we finally take stock. The sound collage gathers steamone imagines these musicians can only sit and ponder for so longbefore we explode into rapturous electrical storms of guitar again. When Baldi's vocals briefly return at the very climax, it is a shot of blissful euphoria.

They cash in on the exhaustion of "Dissolution" with following track "So Right So Clean," a slower, more reflective piece with time to think. Clearly nobody told Cloud Nothings that album sequencing was supposed to be a dying art. Perhaps it is the satisfaction of a band returning to their natural territory, or perhaps it is a marriage of the energy of the record with the spirit of its times, but Cloud Nothings have never been better. (www.cloudnothings.com)

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