Album Review: Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound

By on Friday, 3rd February 2017 at 12:00 pm

Cloud Nothings Life Without Sound album cover“I came up to the surface, released the air”. Welcome to the first words spoken in what could be Cloud Nothings’ strongest record to date. ‘Life Without Sound’ is filled with brazen guitar pop that tackles the deeper side of life. While ensuring you remain fully invested to its real goal: to make you a massive fan of Cloud Nothings. Continuing through this opener, it reaches harmonious heights at its chorus and sets you up to believe maybe Cloud Nothings are a bit more restrained for their fourth outing. This idea is swiftly decimated by the following track, ‘Things Are Right With You’, which is a raucous and loud rocking number and gives the album its real flow and setting things up nicely.

The Cleveland, Ohio four-piece are known for their rocking ways, and you can see why. They know how to give a song a life force that engages and amazes you. ‘Things Are Right With You’ also highlight the strong lyricism frontman Dylan Baldi s capable of. Giving us the album’s title with its lyrically monumental moment “no life without a sound”, I’m sure we all as music folk can relate to this sentiment. ‘Internal World’ has a little less of a rocky edge, combining the approach of the previous two tracks, restrained but focused on its direction. On somewhat of a roller coaster ride, ‘Darkened Rings’ is a flurry of guitar lines, rhythm and distortion. It’s a little harder to understand what Baldi is trying to convey here due to the chaos, but the lyrical moments that do stand out carry enough weight for the entire song.


Taking the central place on the album, ‘Enter Entirely’ is perhaps the strongest cut too. With a supreme Nineties’ vibe given off from the Dinosaur Jr.-esque break during the pre-chorus, which soon leads rapidly into a melodic run off, it’s retro-cum-modern in the best way possible. The song finds its direction forward heading during the outro that is surrounded by more brash guitars, including a particularly satisfying guitar solo, while Baldi repeats, “moving on but I still feel it, you’re just a light in me now”. Not letting the momentum gained from here drop, the band kicks straight back in with lead single ‘Modern Act’, another standout. It’s another moment of lyrical strength: “can’t stand the modern act / whose war is this, what god is that?”, and the chorus leading line “when you feel like an ocean coming out of a creek, filling rivers to wait for you wherever you are”. The pop sense in the melody comes on strong during its central riff that carries a light touch, taking the strain off the wide-ranging lyrics.


‘Sight Unseen’ opts for more of a slow build to its reward. While it’s not as pleasing as the prior songs, the bridge is still worth the wait, featuring a savage outro that barrels into life with Baldi screaming “the world is sight unseen” over the instrumentation kicking things up into their highest gear. While all this rockin’ and rollin’ is happening, with its pop bones and rock heart, ‘Strange Year’ hits out of nowhere. A wandering and haunting track that stalks its way through, picking up pace at the half way point, it more acts as an emotional gas pedal that gives you Baldi’s state of mind and frustration. The most surprising aspect of the song is the immediacy with which it disappears, quite literally into nothingness. It’s also a precursor for the album finale, ‘Realize My Fate’. The longest cut on the album at 7 and a half minutes, it wanders and stalks just as the prior track but has far more aggression, followed by Baldi’s cries of “I believe in something bigger, but what I can’t articulate, I find it hard to realize my fate”. One of the album’s lyrically simpler songs, it does incredibly well to convey such complexities through few words. Not to mention the literal screaming Baldi undertakes at the end, power and madness rolled into one: quite like the world we’re living in.

This album serves as an important listen for anyone struggling with the idea of trying to survive the year ahead. Cloud Nothings have created a vehicle for listeners trying to understand the uncertainty and to express frustration. And the best part? It’s all soundtracked by banging guitar music.


American indie band Cloud Nothings’ newest album ‘Life Without Sound’ is out now on Carpark Records (US) / Wichita Recordings (UK). To read more of TGTF’s past coverage on Cloud Nothings, including their most recent promo video for ‘Internal World’, go here.

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