There are bands that represent the essence and the spirit of rock. Among these I surely include Cloud Nothings, the spectacular indie rock from Ohio. I follow this band with particular attention since their 2014 album, Here and Nowhere Else, and from then I’ve felt a natural attraction for their music and I’ve literally fallen in love with many of the intense and profound songs they wrote. I’ve always found their approach to music as the perfect paradigm and synthesis of rock and roll in modern times. Their songs manifest the urgency of communicating something strong, and the musical language they’ve built in order to transmit their feelings is raw, immediate, dissonant and full of contradictions as is today the world around us. No frills, no masks, a kind of music that is stripped of all what’s superfluous but that, in doing so, shows a monstrous and impressive substance. I feel that Cloud Nothings have achieved the perfect synthesis between the immediacy of punk, the aggressiveness of alternative rock, the melodies of power pop, the research and experimentation of avant-garde music, and the the angularities of noise rock. Their sound is the point where all these different ways of interpreting modern rock eventually meet together, and their albums are gifted by a sense of spontaneity and naturalness that makes everything alive and exciting.
Last Building Burning is the new LP released by Cloud Nothings, the fifth of their discography. The publication notes say that the album was recorded in only eight days in a studio located in a border town of Texas. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the album offers such intense feelings of immediacy and spontaneity. Don’t expect the balance and the crystalline perfection of those over-produced albums where clear sounds and catchy melodies are tuned and refined up to the smallest details. Instead, prepare yourself for rough sounds and a genuine flow of electric anger, with songs that point straight and without hesitations at the heart of music, at the essence of rock.
I’m here to say that Last Building Burning is yet another great record by a fantastic band, and I’m sure that its arrival, in this cold November, has the effect of warming the soul of all the fans of indie music. The record has no false steps and every song is a little gem. There are of course some tracks that shine with a particular light of beauty. I can mention the song In Shame, perhaps the most melodic, fast and accessible song of the LP, one of those tracks that you want to listen again as soon as it ends, without going on with the rest of the album.
On the other opposite there is Dissolution, a song that makes me think of Dylan Baldi and his bandmates hitting hard on their instruments with rage, fury and passion, but at some point they find themselves blocked on a single note, a chord that they can’t abandon to move forward into the song, as if they were imprisoned by a magic spell, until the drums eventually arrive to wake them up and then, as a response, they embark on a three minutes psychedelic trip which gives life to one of the most exciting finals that the band has ever composed to date.
In more general terms, if we compare the new LP with their more recent releases we find many confirmations and a few signs of difference. The confirmations mainly concern the general approach to music, which includes the immediate and “urgent” style that I mentioned above. Among the differences we can highlight a more evident recourse to gloomy and disheartened tones, both for the music and the lyrics. But, in the end, that’s another evidence that their music do not only reflect the current state of rock, but rather the more general situation of our society.
If you enjoyed the music of Cloud Nothing’s last album you will like INDIE INSIDE, the playlist I’m curating on Spotify with all the best and latest Indie Rock songs. Listen to it, follow it and spread the word!