Nothing is a band for introverts; they make music that’s best for headphones – for muting all the cars and people, and just watching the rush of life silently go by like leaves washing down a stream. For years the Alt-Rock genre was led by pioneers like Sonic Youth, Pixies, and Dinosaur Jr. To the savvy listener, Nothing sounds like the next wave of leaders for the new Alt-Rock. Nothing is paving the way forward, a renaissance of noise, of fuzz, of pure awesome. The 2014 album Guilty of Everything builds tension through its slow, climactic builds. This music is an adrenaline shot right to the soul; it can lift the bags from under the eyes, and palpitate the heart as effectively as a few shots of espresso.
The hardcore punk-rock influence of Nothing is evident in the wall of noise approach of the guitars, it’s heavy, even daunting to the listener – but the melodies are sad, lonely, infectious. Dream-pop infused with punk is never a bad thing. The vocal delivery on this album is like the soul boiling over. If the guitar, drums and bass of Nothing are the chaos and frustration of life, then the vocals are the soul, the human spirit lifting off to transcend everything else. And it only just makes it out – the vocals barely rise above the noise, just loud enough to deliver the corresponding melody and maybe a few coherent words now and again. It’s beautiful stuff, and with such a delivery track after track, “Guilty of Everything” becomes one endless delivery of pathos.
Bent Nail is a Sebadoh inspired track that blisters with an old school melodic punk energy. The guitars are furious and fuzzy, before opening up into a lush, even fuzzier, power-chord laden, climactic and ambient piece of shoegaze. This track, rather, this band, is what nowadays would be called a retro call-back to a time when alternative rock was fresh, dangerous, and even scary – when it was just a bunch of long haired kids wailing into a mic.
Endlessly picks up where Bent Nail left off. The guitars on this track scream. They scream like a dying, primordial beast gasping for one last breath. Images of the urban landscape bubble up from the melodies, but enclosed in dank mist; a swamp of modernity, where we’re all, in a way, stuck. Endlessly sounds like what it would be like hurled through time, and then looking back, a million years from now, onto our extinct civilization.
Get Well is my favorite track on the album. Pure punk energy, it winds up the body like a coil spring. I can feel this track in my muscles, in my eyeballs. I haven’t heard anything with such raw energy since the Pixies. It explodes with simple melodies and instrumentation, but this is a good thing. It’s at the tail end of a couple tracks that are slow-building, emotional pieces of musical poetry. Get Well is the catharsis of Guilty of Everything.
We also wrote about Nothing’s live show and more on the album Guilty of Everything here. We have another photo gallery from Nothing’s recent tour stop in Toronto here. NOTHING is on a U.S. tour from May to June 2015; they also will play Montreal’s OSHEAGA Music Fest. Get more info at the band’s official Facebook page.
Cory Zydyk is a Vancouver-based writer who is a frequent contributor to Step on magazine and writes on both music and film. Recently Cory reviewed Headlights by The River and the Road.