Review Summary: Sound and fury
Streamlined. Shiny. Digestible. This is not exactly the type of vocabulary one would expect to utilise when describing a band that Relapse Records is marketing as some manner of love child progeny of Kevin Shields and Justin Broadrick. Despite this, these are the adjectives that instantly spring to mind upon first listen to Nothing's debut album Guilty of Everything.
Regardless, some aspects of My Bloody Valentine's and Jesu's signature sounds are firmly in place: the dreamy, ethereal vocals that both bands share; the wall of sound guitars of Jesu and the concise, poppy verse-chorus-verse constructions of My Bloody Valentine are all accounted for. However, what is abundantly clear is that the rough edges have been sanded off. There's no chance of the haphazard, seemingly thrown together but actually meticulously constructed, nature of My Bloody Valentine or the oppressive, one man in his bedroom, claustrophobia of Jesu.
When taken in direct comparison to these pioneers there is something decidedly pedestrian about Nothing. The overriding issue is that while the band create an imposing atmosphere and sound, they struggle to inject a great deal of truly memorable moments into their dense noise. They play it safe, staying perhaps slightly left of the middle of lane, but never once veering into the ditch.
In spite of this, the band do every so often show their promise. Lead single "Dig" shows the potential of their shoegaze-metal brand of indie rock while "Get Well" adds a surprisingly pop punk vibe that adds a bounce and playfulness to proceedings. Unfortunately, many of their other offerings are too indistinct, melding seamlessly into one long beautiful sounding but somewhat unmemorable collage of sound.
What is evident, is the band's undoubted potential. With this album they have laid a solid basis on which they can hopefully expand and diversify their huge sound. If they invest more of the distinct melody like that present in the infectious title track into their future offerings, we may be in for something truly both nostalgic and innovative.