Cloud Nothings started out as a fake band. Dylan Baldi, lead singer and founder, used GarageBand to record original songs after which he would create MySpace pages of fake bands to post those songs. One of these was Cloud Nothings which garnered the attention of a New York promoter who invited him to perform. At this point, Baldi put together a band and Cloud Nothings was born, again, sort of. Nine years hence, they are releasing their fifth full-length.
Every album release has seen increased success with various music awards, featured songs in advertising and video games, and big festivals and tours. This new album is going to continue this trend with each song having some stand out element; this album is diverse while being true to its punk ethos.
With their singers (Baldi, TJ Duke, and Chris Brown) sharing lead duties on several songs they cover a range from the gravelly-est gravel to clear rock. Along with the vocal range comes a range of tempo and rhythm. Heard separately you might think these songs are from different albums and times but, rather, they show the talent for songwriting and performance.
Like a punk band should, the first track, “On An Edge” blisters and sets the aggressive, unapologetic tone of to the remainder of the album with some sexy grinding vocals in a Fucked Up vein. Tight instrumentation and a catchy chorus kick things off right.
There are a couple love songs here. A pop-punk tune, “Leave Him Now” follows. It is far easier to listen to and provides multiple avenues of entry with a broad musical appeal. It pairs well with the pop-punk feel of “Dissolution.” In both there’s an early 2000s emo-tinged concept going on.
Love is a theme on the album and fourth song, “Offer An End” slows down the tempo and taps into the love song style of Jawbreaker with a cool chorus: “Sometimes the truth feels worse.”
The final song , “Another Way of Life” could be the Descendents. Enough said.
The single “Echo of the World” we discussed before. In the middle of the album it serves as beacon letting you know not to let your energy flag and to give the rest of the album your full attention. It’s a really damn good song.
Cloud Nothings have produced one of the better punk albums of the year with uncurbed creativity. There unwillingness to make their sound easier (which one might expect due to their commercial success) belies a dedication to their aggressive yet catchy roots.