The World’s So Heavy:
Nothing’s Guilty of Everything
Check out Nothing at the Relapse Records X CVLT Nation SXSW 2014 Showcase, March 12th at Dirty Dog Bar! More info here…
Philadelphia-rooted band Nothing have been weaving a dreamy tapestry with their brand of ear-breaking shoegaze since their Suns and Lovers debut in 2011. 2012 saw the release of Downward Years to Come, a delicate, emotive EP that demonstrated the sheer power of Nothing’s sound, in addition to addressing them as a force to be noticed among the spring of shoegaze bands of recent years. Catching the attention of metal-centric label, Relapse Records, Nothing are on the cusp of releasing their first full-length, the towering, beautiful and melancholic Guilty of Everything.
The album cover is simple. The white flag appears still, as if grounded in a rock in space, an emptiness claimed. Frozen and unwavering in its stance. Motionless in surrender, slightly frayed against the deep, endless black of a cosmos with no end in sight. The image whispers the music’s intent, yet hoists its low, monochrome intent high and proud. There is a bleak purity that that the cover recognizes, akin to the covers of such works as Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and Slowdive’s Pygmalion. Similarly, Nothing’s appeal is no less powerful and draining.
The energy on Guilty of Everything is palpable. Consistently caught between alluring day and depressive night, the album finds a medium that few works by Nothing’s contemporaries have been able to create. As gentle as shoegaze can be, these songs manage to maul with ethereal savagery, drowning the listener in noise, best exemplified in the final dirge of ninth track, “B&E.” Founder Dominic Palermo’s past in hardcore act, Horror Show, roots the album’s aggressive moments, imbuing the songs with a dirty, yet sterile, aesthetic. Reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, pre-release tracks “Dig” and “Bent Nail” masquerade as boisterous rock before sliding with a fluid cool into contemplative melodies and sleepless choruses.
Beholding Guilty of Everything’s finest moments can be equated to enjoying a scolding-hot spring within an icy cavern. The atmosphere is cold, initially unwelcoming, yet as one spends time amid its jagged emotion and sun-hued echoes, the hostility subsides, welcoming the listener to behold some of the best tracks any record this year is like to offer. “Beating Around the Bush” is one such example. The vocals are tender, almost poignant, cradled by distant guitars that rock the words at a glacial, ascendant pace. The song reaches its climax like a springtime thunderclap, bereft of life yet heralding the quenching, melodic rain to come. A standout track and among the finest Nothing has yet to craft.
There is much to Nothing’s sound, not enough words can provide it due justice. Sad, yet hopeful in presentation, Guilty of Everything is a gleam of sunshine on a shitty, grey day. While it may not break shoegaze as a style, it arms it with a much needed cathartic violence, a bridge jump into calming waves. One of the year’s best, without question.
Guilty of Everything will be available March 4th, with preorders available from Relapse Records. Nothing’s EP Downward Years to Come is available from A389 Recordings. A preview of Guilty of Everything and both prior releases can be heard on the band’s Bandcamp.
Death of Lovers, featuring members of Nothing and Whirr recently released their debut 12″, Buried Under a World of Roses, on Deathwish Inc.