Review Summary: This time louder, let’s see next time.
Cloud Nothings have had quite a turbulent career run, but that is entirely their own fault. See, they are a little too keen on flip-flopping from style to style. At first they were a regular lo-fi indie band, then they delved a little deeper into the melancholy and distant influences of old-school post-hardcore (the ancient 90s one, not the bloated modern one, back when it still had a lot of emo aspects), then there was the slightly rawer period, then the sudden drop into mellow indie, and now it is shouting punky rawness. It would have been a mistake to say that the band has one distinct style they either go away from or come back to, their shtick is to always change. The question remains, whether that change is always as successful as the band would like it to be.
I couldn’t say that for their past couple of records that, albeit sounded decently enough, had plenty of non-distinct banalities plaguing its quality, making them (especially Life Without Sound
) pretty much just another unremarkable record in the style everyone has heard and been tired of a million times. That is not to say that Last Building Burning
is a shining example of pure originality, but its energy and beating song-writing and slightly rustier execution is what makes it a banger that will etch itself into your memory. Many songs here could have been soft mediocrities, had they not been played with those loud, crass and abrasive punk influences, had the drums not been inclined to be clattering, had the production not been distorted, had the vocals not been shouting and froggish. Songs like “Leave Him Now” and “In Shame” come to mind (I should also mention that it doesn’t always work either…eh-ehm… “Offer An End”).
On its highest peaks, this record is extravagant, adventurous and tumultuous. “The Echo of the World” is one of those songs you just want to see live to fully experience the energy, the spirit and the momentary surge into musical euphoria. “Dissolution” absolutely did not need to be as long as it was, but in the context of the album that keeps on giving, the additional five minutes of noise and instrumental murmur comes off as a bonus to the atmosphere.
A return to form? What form? There never was one. This is just a stop amid their journey and it so happens that this stop is a heavy one, with a lot of distortion, gnarly tunes and energetic performances. Enjoy it while it lasts before the band pulls another indie pop record on you.