Published Jan 18, 2017Singer-guitarist Bill Young founded Nothingness when he left his Vancouver home for a two-year stay on nearby Pender Island. The extended rural retreat inspired the nine cuts that make up the band's debut album, Being, right down to the song titles of ambient sketches like "Pender Island" and "Sunshine Coast."
When not weaving abstract tapestries of chilly guitar and mournful horns, Nothingness favour sprawling post-rock, with most of the tracks surpassing the five-minute mark. The songs are, at their core, downcast acoustic folk. Young's mournful ballads are overlaid with waves of moody guitar fuzz, evoking the dramatic Canadiana (and emotive vocal style) of Hey Rosetta! and the Pacific Northwest rusticity of Mount Eerie.
The record's MVP is drummer Justin Devries: he propels the sweetly lilting melodies of "Annie's Song" towards a swirling crescendo and intersperses the hypnotic drones of the nine-minute "Sun of Mine" with climactic fills. He also knows when to keep it simple, as on the elegiac closer "Sacrifice," which opens with the line "Oh, to grow old and die" and closes with a choral sing-along. Sometimes stormy, sometimes serene, Being is a true Pacific Northwest experience. (Big Smoke)