Cleveland-based rock trio Cloud Nothings is known for making simple-sounding post-punk music that can give listeners a heady dose of nostalgia for the salad days of their youth. There is plenty of that youthful wistfulness on its new album “Here and Nowhere Else,” along with a surprising amount of lyrical maturity.
Very much a product of his tumultuous years of adolescence, Dylan Baldi started Cloud Nothings as a one-man band in 2009. After seeing the viral success of several tracks and EPs releasted through his MySpace, Baldi decided to drop out of Case Western Reserve University and pursue his musical dreams full-time.
After recording 2012’s musical “Attack on Memory” with touring bassist TJ Duke and drummer Jayson Gerycz, Baldi decided to make something noisier, less melodic and packed with frenetic, teenage energy.
“Here and Nowhere Else” is filled with feedback loops, guitars laden with reverb and voice-splitting vocals that conjure up memories of the post-punk days of old, but its lyricism is what sets it apart and makes it a truly contemporary album. In the album’s opening track “Now Hear In,” Baldi poetically opines, “I go outside and see all these things that should be real,” going on to mull over romantic relationships, human empathy and intentionally obfuscates the role of the narrator in the song, making you wonder if Baldi really thinks he exists.
“Quieter Today” and “Psychic Trauma” are both bouncy traks filled with slash-and-burn guitar riffs that echo Blink-182 and the pop-punk of the late 90s. “Pattern Walks” is the album’s longest track and is almost suite-like in complexity, though it sounds like a Pavement B-side.
Gerycz’s furious drumming is what gives each short track its pulsating, ready-to-burst-at-the-seams energy, but the percussion doesn’t make the vocals seem rushed at all. Baldi’s voice is admittedly far from angelic, but its raw honesty makes up for any lack of vocal talent and makes it an album of the moment for the frontman.
“Here and Nowhere Else” is an album that proves a band can make an earnest, mature punk album about the immature days of adolescence, and is perfect for anyone who wants to be taken on that nostalgia trip.