Cloud Nothings Goes Punk in "Here and Nowhere Else"
I was originally drawn to this album because I saw that Pitchfork gave it an 8.7. Knowing how critical and overly negative Pitchfork usually is, I checked out Cloud Nothings. Pitchfork really hit the mark here; Here and Nowhere Else is great. It is a punk sound that I haven’t heard in years and I thought was dead. I would best describe this album as an indie punk crossover. I have always loved punk music. I went through that punk phase in high school, but the genre has always stuck with me. When good, punk is amazing. When bad, punk is so damn mediocre that it can make me fall asleep. Cloud Nothings are a giant lead in the good direction.
What makes punk music stand out from most other genres is its rawness. Good punk sounds like its coming from your friend’s garage. The editing and production is minimal, or cleverly hidden. The rawness of the vocals over the rough guitar and pounding bass drum transport you to the front row of a basement show. This is what makes Here and Nowhere Else so good: its rawness.
Track by Track Analysis:
The album opens with the amazing intro riff of “Now Here In”. This melody bounces along with the vocals to a bombastic chorus. The cymbals smash in true punk fashion every time the chorus comes around. I also love how the bass guitar is at the same audible level as the drums. Nothing is better in a punk song than a sweet bass guitar.
The second track “Quieter Today” has a great beat change just before the chorus. The noise stops, and the drummer signals that he’s changing things up. I absolutely love a great beat change, and this song really nails it. This song is aggressive, but not overly so.
“Psychic Trauma” is a nice change of pace from the previous song. It has a great melody, which counters with the raspy vocals from the lead singer. The melodic guitar is shadowed by an incredibly fast drumbeat. This song also features some great lyrics, shouted at you in apparent desperation. “Try to stop it, try to feel something/But nothing happens, I stay the same/Is it alright to end up this way?”
“Just See Fear” is probably my least favorite track on the album. It is just an unnecessary slowdown from the fast pace of the previous songs. I really was getting into the quick pace and was not ready for a drop in intensity. When listening to it out of order, it still doesn’t feel as complete and raw as the rest of the album. “Give into Seeing” is another one of my least favorites, but the album picks up again right away.
“No Thoughts” feels like a completely different approach. The singer is much calmer, and has less of a rasp to his voice. The track is slower, but definitely better than the previous two.
“Pattern Walks” is my favorite song on the album. It is a song that I would love to be in the crowd during a concert for. It is so punk – I love it. The bassist is jamming along at the fast pace that the drummer is dictating. The guitar highlights their synchronism with a great feedback like sound intertwined with classic punk riffs. “I feel a chill and try to keep my body walking/Another person, looks like he's right behind me/I'm moving forward while I keep the past around me.”
“I’m Not a Part of Me” is a song that needs to played at an outdoor summer concert. I would love to hear it at Warped Tour. It has great catchy choruses and great bass vocal combos. The bass is impeccable. I love how loud it is.
If you love rawness, loud bass guitar, and raspy vocals, Cloud Nothings’ Here and Nowhere else is the album you need right now. It feels like classic 2006 punk with a more contemporary refinement on it. Check it out right now!