Bassist TJ Duke and drummer Jayson Gerycz have managed to coax out something not at all unexpected but somehow a welcomed step forward for the band. They skip out on its minimalistic rawness to fill every inch of breathing space with an eruptive squall.
Sometimes this leaves Baldi very little room to punctuate his vocals above the brawniness of it. But when he does, his vocals stack up on the wall of noise with an unflinching certainty. So while this isn't the same pop-punk production that began in his basement, everything about it keeps their Cleveland-based brashness intact.
Here And Nowhere Else keeps Cloud Nothings edgy.
The powered up anarchy of Cloud Nothings wastes no time in setting a direction. Now Hear In opens with a throaty guitar before Baldi cuts to the point. "I can feel your pain, and I feel all right about it."
The no-nonsense track doesn't say much because there's nothing left to say. It's painfully obvious he wants to walk away, something the band makes especially clear as they pick up the pace of the instrumental toward the end of the song — walking away turns into a brilliant sprint.
The other must-listen track on the album comes in at the end. And it's made even more accessible by its video. Despite the punk undercarriage, I'm Not Part of Me masquerades as a bubble gum slumber party sing-along, complete with Rock Band instruments, squirt guns, and Ouija boards. It's good clean fun amid an album that remains delightfully scrappy.
Those two songs aren't alone among the must-listen tracks they bookend. Quieter Today talks about what it must be like to be in a band where everyone has a supermassive ego. It's raw and occasionally brutish in making the point — sometimes you have to shut up and listen.
Interestingly enough, the analogy isn't lost on the band. The whole social media era puts everyone on a pedestal to talk away their days — even when no is listening. This track breaks through some of it.
Psychic Trauma is a badly needed growler, with some especially sick drum work by Gerycz. Like many of the tracks on the Here And Nowhere Else, there is a remarkable build as the band continues to push each other faster and faster, raunchier and raunchier.
Psychic Trauma is likely the fastest, but it is Just See Fear that Baldi counts among his favorites. Along with an instrumental build, Baldi erupts into some signature screams. He almost has too much fun doing it, but not as much fun as screaming the word "swallow" on Giving Into Seeing.
According to Baldi, he didn't have a word to scream so he asked his French girlfriend what her favorite English word might be. He was happy enough to add it (but we're not sure if she received a writing credit). History was made either way. Just like that.
No Thoughts was one of the first songs written for the album. Pattern Walks clocks in at just under eight minutes. The track is really a band jam that meanders through several ideas because the end to the songs becomes a response to Wasted Days.
Here And Nowhere Else By Cloud Nothings Rips 9.1 On The Liquid Hip Scale.
Some critics were hoping for more for Cloud Nothings, but it's not clear what that might have been. Here And Nowhere Else catches the band in the present, where they are still at the top of their game and still challenging themselves to do more. It's hard to ask for more than that. Here is the right now.
You can pick up Here and Nowhere Else by Cloud Nothing from Amazon. You can also download the album from iTunes. It's clearly their most ambitious album and the one everyone will most want to see live. Fan reviews are consistently high, ranging from 4.5 to 5. We're right there too.