Review: Cloud Nothings

When I first heard the hype about the Cleveland pop-punk outfit Cloud Nothings, I instinctively thought, “here’s another Pitchfork favorite, named-after-a-cloud-something band.” This past weekend, however, fellow DJ Matt Kalan and I sat down and listened to Cloud Nothings’ self-titled album, and my preconceived notions were completely changed. This album marks the transition of 19-year-old Dylan Baldi’s power-pop solo act from his basement to the studio, and the difference is notable, not to mention impressive. The first track, “Understand At All,” begins with a bang, as Baldi croons over the frenetic beat of melodious guitars and drums. A unique mixture of genres and musical styles are prevalent throughout the album, including energetic punk, droning distortion and Wavves-esque guitar solos. They’re neatly interwoven through tracks such as “Not Important” and “Heartbeat,” which see an experimental blend of guitar-crunching punk jams that would make Atlanta garage-punk outfit Black Lips proud. Simultaneously, “Should Have” could have been co-written by Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. Despite the blend of of genres, the unifying thread that holds Cloud Nothings’ self-titled album together is the raw yet increasingly confident lyrics, passionate and honest in their execution. As Baldi screeches over power-driven punk, with its traces reminiscent of late ’70s era Dead Kennedys minus the subversive political satire, the influences of beach pop, the inevitable trials of adolescence and young talent make their way to produce a solid, honest and accessible record.

– Paula

http://www.myspace.com/cloudnothings

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