Cloud Nothings - Life Without Sound

Cloud Nothings
Life Without Sound

Cloud Nothings are a tough band to pin down. Record to record they tend to switch their style so much that each one is a new surprise. For better or worse this has served them well. The new record Life Without Sound is a straight up indie rock record, no frills just music. This approach would have served them well a few years ago, but today their moody guitar rock seems to fall a bit flat. What is really odd is that the lyrics but right up against this sort of dour sound with statements about being happy and moving on. However the music does move at a really nice pace and keeps you interested. Cloud Nothings have always been great at writing memorable hooks, it really is their jam. Here however the hooks tend to side more with repetition than with an actual catchy line. On "Internal World" Baldi repeats himself over and over just drilling the line into your head but not in a great way. Life Without Sound is that kind of record that critics love; a bit inaccessible, heavy on the standard instrumentation and something outside of the popular music scene. The problem with this album is not that it is bad in any way it is just that this same album this same sound has been done and done so many times that getting excited or finding something new and fascinating is tough.

"Strange Year" is where things start to fall apart, the song descends into some kind of screamo emotional outburst. It feels like a tantrum in a song and just falls very flat. If this record had come out when Death Cab and Modest Mouse were at the height of their powers it likely would have been a smash, but this is not where we are at now, and this sound just doesn't connect save for a few diehards. You get that they want this album to feel raw and stripped down but it is just missing something to set it apart to really make it soar. The front half of the record is miles better than the second, more melodic and more accessible. As a whole there are moments of greatness and beauty but there is also a lot of harsh stuff to get through to reach those points. Some people will love this record, and I mean really love it, but for the rest of us it is just another drop in an already overflowing bucket.

6.8 out of 10


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