Cloud Nothings - Turning On - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cloud Nothings - Turning On

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2010-10-25

Are you sick of over-produced, over compressed auto-tuned chart music? But do you still love a good melody or riff? Then look no further than Cloud Nothings; the perfect antidote to modern pop music.

Turning On wastes no time in setting out the stall for the rest of the album; 'Can't Stay Awake' is a short, fidgety song with a hooky chorus, clouds of fuzz and imperfect recordings. It's a template followed on the majority of songs across the album (including lead single 'Hey Cool Kid'). The imperfections and lack of production polish may deter some at first but as the album progresses it becomes more of a theme. This is the lowest-fi you can get; if garage is messy and loud then this should be called bedroom DIY. Dylan Baldi has kept the same recording techniques that made his underground cassette music so sought after.

If you manage to work out all the lyrics in any one song then you deserve a medal. Having said that, what you can make out in the lyrics is worth straining your ears for. After repeat listens the hooks dig deeper and songs become hummable (or mumble-able). 'Strummin' and 'Waddya Wanna Know' have a classic Strokes feel about them with two layered guitars, one providing a melodic clean tone while the rhythm keeps a constant buzzed-up template on which to draw. Funnily enough 'Strummin' also provides the only moment of totally clear singing and it's a shame it's kept hidden for so long because it isn't all that bad. The vocals also keep up The Strokes influence in this one moment with Baldi sounding like a slightly more enthusiastic Julian Casablancas as he wails "My baby's been gone for 14 years".

As the album goes on, the pattern wears a little thin and only patient listeners will be able to take the album in one sitting - though everyone should stick it out for the closer 'Another Man'. In the end, you may wonder whether the intentionally poor production is to shadow any lack of technical proficiency as musicians, but it's a secret Cloud Nothings don't look like giving up anytime soon.

This is a messy and fun pop album with plenty of excitement, guitars and blemishes. It's far more interesting and a million miles more genuine than most of the rubbish which passes through the charts - that's for sure.

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