Cloud Nothings
Final Summer


4.0
excellent

Review

by Zack Lorenzen CONTRIBUTOR (36 Reviews)
April 21st, 2024 | 27 replies


Release Date: 04/19/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: On cloud nine.

Like most artists plucked from overnight obscurity and tossed into the ever-churning indie darling mill, Cloud Nothings’ sudden success a decade ago has remained their saving grace and their Achilles heel in equal measure. Breakthroughs Attack on Memory and Here and Nowhere Else silkily fit into the early 2010’s melodic punk zeitgeist like Cinderella’s slippers, and the Cleveland three-(and sometimes four-)piece briefly earned their place at the helm of that movement with trusty, modest, infectious batches of garage rock. It wasn’t really innovative then—prickly punk oddballs before them like Husker Du, Pixies, and The Replacements paved that path long before these guys ever sniffed a stage—but ingenuity can be overrated. Their songs banged and people loved it.

Key word: “loved.” Hipness is a hydra; committing to a reliable sound constitutes the death knell for most of the acts thrust into fame on short notice. Look no further than Cloud Nothings’ immediate predecessors (Japandroids) and successors (Beach Slang), both of whom fizzled out amidst shallower retreads of their limelight legacy. Cloud Nothings, on the other hand, frustratingly held course as stalwarts, trusting their rotation of producers to tweak their palette to each subsequent record’s strengths. Initially, this approach worked: Life Without Sound and Last Burning Building represented calculated, subtle steps out of stardom back into the durable indie rock underground, but the pandemic era was less beneficial to their longevity. A mellow pair of 2020 albums failed to bring anything new to the table at all, and reuniting with Steve Albini on The Shadow I Remember felt like a desperate backbend for past glory, seemingly ignoring the underlying problem: Cloud Nothings’ devoted formula has legs, but it needs the feet of truly engaging songwriting to actually run.

Final Summer complicates the trend, then. As you’ve probably surmised nine albums deep, Cloud Nothings don’t fundamentally alter their approach here, but this is nonetheless the most energetic, revitalized, and attentive to detail they’ve sounded since the peak of their popularity. Don’t let the elongated electronic intro to “Final Summer” throw your expectations; while a welcome surprise, the bulk of this record thrives on its learned, aged resilience: the guitars chime and hack, the bass underpins each thudding groove, and Jayson Gerycz crashes the hell out of his crashes, resuscitating the band’s noisier edge while Dylan Baldi floats above the riot with tuneful earworm after earworm. Some of the cuts wield particularly barbed sentiments—“Silence” takes rhetorical blows at evangelical bigotry and “Thank Me For Playing” proves there’s anger to be explored within taking the high road—but even at his most tight-lipped (“I’d Get Along” and “The Golden Halo” are pretty repetitive) Baldi’s terse deliveries are more economical than empty-headed, far removed from the Green Days and Blink-182s of mega-commercialized punk in that they don’t have to resort to vestigial, hokey finger-pointing to achieve an earnest sense of rebelliousness. And the hooks! My word, these ten tracks and 29 minutes pack double the bang for your buck without a single dud melody or crass one-liner.

Clearly, the magic never fully left Cloud Nothings. Whether we can thank their signing to new label Pure Noise Records, their post-pandemic ability to record without remote restrictions, or their heeded worry that the knives they cherished might be getting dull, Final Summer is more than just a lovely little dose of the same ol' well-aged, humble rock ‘n’ roll; it’s all the lessons learned along the way, contextualized as a genuinely charming return.



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user ratings (51)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
April 21st 2024


44141 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome review. I was really hoping this would get coverage, it might be my favorite Cloud Nothings release in a decade.

ashcrash9
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2024


3359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stop the presses: 3.3-est band around strives for a 3.8



Jokes aside, I've been jamming this all weekend. It's not a flashy return to form, but it does the trick. Glad they've still got it.

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2024


10317 Comments


Ghost post (boo!) hi ash

ashcrash9
Contributing Reviewer
April 21st 2024


3359 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

howdy 'sleep, how you been?

Hawks
April 21st 2024


90683 Comments


Have only heard Here and Nowhere Else and thought it was meh but I gotta jam this. That album art is pulling me in lol.

theBoneyKing
April 21st 2024


24569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This rules, fun solid crunchy pop tunes with plenty of hooks and just enough of an edge and variety to keep things interesting.

tom79
April 22nd 2024


3939 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

These guys have made their way back into my regular rotation the last few years (after years being away, some time after Attack on Memory I stopped keeping tabs). Thought the last one was great and this only builds on that momentum (haven't heard the two 2020 releases). Really solid stuff, I've listened three times already. Nice review.

myri14
April 23rd 2024


228 Comments


I got into these guys last year and early this year with Attack On Memory, thank you for the well written review! I wanna check this out now.

Slex
April 23rd 2024


16801 Comments


Okay shit I gotta listen to this

someone
Contributing Reviewer
April 23rd 2024


6759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

they have been running on autopilot since at least mid 2010s but at least their autopilot is not some boring nonstarter

bloc
April 23rd 2024


70400 Comments


This is pretty bland

Odal
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2024


2313 Comments


Nice review! I still gotta check this.

I honestly have a decent amount to check up on with their discography, but those first few albums hit hard

Kompys2000
Emeritus
April 24th 2024


9489 Comments


Oh my God lol I read ur entire opening paragraph straight up not remembering that cloud nothings and japandroids are different bands

Shld check their early stuff/maybe this some time

Kompys2000
Emeritus
April 24th 2024


9489 Comments


Anyone who's fuckin with this should peep new junk city

BaloneyPony
April 24th 2024


601 Comments


I don't think anything will ever top the powerhouse that Wasted Days is.

dedex
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2024


12788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

cool rev cool album woo

Pikazilla
April 24th 2024


30468 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is so weak compared to their outings a decade ago

Ryus
April 24th 2024


37497 Comments


considering attack on memory is terrible that’s very concerning

anat
Contributing Reviewer
April 24th 2024


5793 Comments


last burning building is an underrated album / maybe their best
they certainly don’t help themselves with such nondescript artwork

henryChinaski
April 24th 2024


5058 Comments


artwork rules



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