‘I was feeling pretty good about everything so I just made stuff that made me happy.’ So said frontman Dylan Baldi of ‘Here and Nowhere Else’, the new LP from Ohio fuzz-poppers Cloud Nothings. On first listening to the album, though, one has to wonder what sort of tunes Baldi turns out on a bad day: Pharrell this ain’t.
After Cloud Nothings’ brooding, Slint-nodding 2011 breakthrough, ‘Attack on Memory’, ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ brings things back to the band’s frayed, lo-fi essence – the sound of the time when Baldi was nothing but a box-bedroom solo artist with a truckload of pent-up problems, a cracked copy of GarageBand and a dream.
Like their debut album ‘Turning On’, ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ is a litany of middle-American, outcast-teen neuroses set to a hardcore guitar churn, diuretic bass lines and Ritalin-addled drum fills. ‘Psychic Trauma’ laments the resurgence of long-past anguish, while the scuzzy bass and winding guitar lines of ‘Pattern Walks’ fuel a full-throttle, seven-minute musical mental breakdown.
But there are some definite glimpses of sunshine amid the teeny doom. Baldi is a master of the catchy angsthem, and the pop-punk-inflected hook of ‘No Thoughts’ raises it above the merely maudlin. Even as he snarls ‘You’re born; you’re gone’ over the outro it feels strangely life-affirming.
Listening to ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ might make Baldi’s mates a bit worried for his state of mind – but having produced yet another infectious, rollicking slice of Midwestern alt rock, he certainly has plenty to smile about.
Listen to Cloud Nothings on Spotify
Snap up exclusive discounts in London
Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...