Published Mar 28, 2014When Dylan Baldi's Cloud Nothings released it in 2012, Attack on Memory was a bit of a revelation. In the span of a single year, Baldi had replaced the clean-cut, strummy pop-punk ditties of their 2011 self-titled debut with a towering, distorted pile of Steve Albini-recorded angst whose break with Baldi's past was only emphasized by its title. Response to Attack on Memory was unequivocally positive, and Baldi "liked the way the last record sounded and the band I was playing with," so the band stuck to the formula for the follow-up: Here and Nowhere Else is another heavy, catchy-as-hell Cloud Nothings record.
First single "I'm Not Part of Me" might be the catchiest tune here, but it's the songs on which he fuses that melodic sense with something more that are the most gripping here. "Psychic Trauma" begins with an unassuming mid-tempo guitar part that turns impulsively on a dime 43 seconds in to speed the opposite direction, as Baldi bellows "I can't believe what you're telling me is true" over a head-nodding rhythm section. The seven-minute "Pattern Walks" thrashes wildly before spiralling into a haze of distortion, only to emphatically build back to a hypnotic climax of sparkling guitar effects and crashing drums.
While Cloud Nothings aren't exactly reinventing the wheel here, after just 34 brief minutes of Attack on Memory, to do so would have been a mistake. Here and Nowhere Else might not be revelatory, but it's no less remarkable for it.
Read an interview with Baldi about Here and Nowhere Else here. (Carpark)