Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound Review 

Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound

Take a look at Cloud Nothing’s album artwork for Life Without Sound. My initial reaction: ‘I knew the band were partial to switching their sound in every album, but this beach scene looks serene and sensitive.’ Take a listen to the Cloud Nothing’s album Life Without Sound: it’s a little different. Yes, they have once again mixed up their sound from 2014’s punky entry Here and Nowhere Else, but this time the tracks have a more severe, pensive undertone, and potentially Cloud Nothing’s most mature submission yet.

The album’s opening track Up to the Surface is a huge asset to the whole tracklist. Beginning as a piano ballad, the song thrives upon dramatic progressions and bursts of grungy hooks, tamed by a constrained Dylan Baldi as he recites despondent poetry. It’s an interesting opening exclamation, prepping us for the deliberative album to come. Alongside this comes Things are Right With You and Internal World. Both of them lie in the shadows of their predecessor, Internal World’s best point being the catchy repetition of “I’m not the one who’s always right.” These two are definitely the calm before the storm, however, in that track no.4 Darkened Rings is a very full-on mismatch of instrumentalism. From an ecstatic piano riff to the closing screams that still manage to stay neatly in-line, Darkened Rings props the album back on its feet once again. Life Without Sound seems to have certain songs like this that jut out from the rest. They’re not in any way out of place, but have a little extra vigour, leaving the calmer numbers at the side lines.

Behind a stream of ‘alright’ songs, the final two tracks are where Life Without Sound will ultimately be defined. Strange Year is an effectively confused track, guitar distortions intermingling with piano at the end to create a dizzying effect, only intensified by Baldi’s heated yells of self-reflection. Realize My Fate is the album’s longest offering, interspersed with yet more screaming and the thrashes of percussion and drums meeting a climax 30 seconds from the end of the track. It sounds like the closing of the final song of a concert. The assortment of instruments is pulled off in Darkened Rings and the like, but here it feels like it has just been thrown together. Possibly a symbol of moody deterioration, but these two are not songs for easy listening.

Life Without Sound is a sound coming-of-age track list, with touches of excellence especially in the first half, before it melts into a dazing whirl of instrumentalism. Not their best performance, but nonetheless, builds hype for what they can pull out of the bag next time around.

Cloud Nothings – Life Without Sound: 6/10

Eleanor Chivers

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