Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else

by Andre Lebrun Rating:9.5 Release Date:2014-04-01

It’s been two years since Cloud Nothings released their last album. For most bands, a turnaround of two years seems pretty ideal, the sweet-spot between fading out of relevancy and putting out so much music that everyone gets sick of you. But for Dylan Baldi, whose overwhelming output of hooks is matched only by the enthusiasm and vigor with which he delivers them, two years is a long time to spend away from the studio.

Both on record and on stage, Baldi seems like the type who has a thousand ideas running through his head at any one moment. It says a lot that even though he’s capable of putting out several good albums every year à la Ty Segall, Cloud Nothings does anything but that. Even with two full years to write and perfect their new album, Baldi and his bandmates hit the ground running on this record, playing like they only had a half-hour to record their album before it hit the masses. And from the very first moments, they deliver.

Work ethic and talent aside, Baldi isn't one for cheap tricks. From the first lo-fi recordings forged in his parents’ basement, to the last moments of Cloud Nothings’ mind-shattering breakthrough album, Attack on Memory, every moment spent with his music feels as visceral and stubbornly sincere as the last, a trait that carries over to Here and Nowhere Else. In a world where taking the easy way out and overtly manufacturing one’s sound becomes easier and easier every day, Cloud Nothings stick to their guns and pumps out nothing but brutal honesty.

Aside from the loss of a guitarist and changes in production, Here and Nowhere Else covers a lot of new ground that sets it apart from its predecessor. Where Attack on Memory tended to focus on slow, tense, drawn-out builds, Here and Nowhere Else doesn’t hesitate to play every single one of its cards all at once. For those skeptical of Cloud Nothings' hardcore punk lineage, songs like 'No Thoughts' and 'Quieter Today' should help clear things up. Each and every song finds the time to break into a rapid-fire cacophony before it reaches its conclusion, suddenly thrown into one of the many therapeutic melodies that hold everything together. Put it all together, and the final result is beautiful, exciting, and capable of moving at a breakneck pace that completely defies the last album’s canon.

The album, at its core, centers around the concept of living in the here and now. While most of Attack on Memory focused in on tearing down the past, Here and Nowhere Else rings out as that mindset's complete antithesis. In these songs, Baldi has come to terms with the pain he's gone through in the past, declaring, “There’s a way I was before/ but I can’t recall how I was those days anymore".

If the last album was a dark, nihilistic, brooding, and incredibly satisfying cacophony, the soundtrack to a mental breakdown, than this is the aftermath, the excited, inspired, life-affirming catharsis that follows the struggles of the past. His frame of mind has shifted, and so has the music. This is Attack on Memory’s twin in a way, born from the past but no longer hateful towards it. Rather than issues of isolation and self-loathing, Here and Nowhere Else focuses on empathy, happiness, and the problems we face every day in trying to be a better person.

Album highlights 'Now Here in', 'Just See Fear', and 'I’m Not Part of Me' close in on Baldi’s neuroses in the most endearing ways possible, painting an image of someone who knows it’s time for him to start growing up and accepting his world. While this album doesn’t carry the same weighty angst of its predecessor, the new wisdom it harbors more than makes up for it, and simultaneously makes this record equally (if not even more) powerful. Dylan Baldi can feel your pain, and he feels alright about it.

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