Nothing is something special, despite their namesake. When they could be the next sad thing that’s all the rage, they instead make an art of it all. Blending sunny side noise landscapes with dark side of the moon lyricism, this band has carved itself quite the niche. Through A389 Recordings, they released 2012’s elegantly distant Downward Years to Come, followed two years later by their debut full-length, the gentle yet rough Guilty of Everything. Following vinyl pressings that promoted and donated to every cause from breast cancer to LGBT rights, Nothing made it clear that they were here for you, no matter what may plague you. Despite their music’s bleak worldview, it’s also music that, in its own near unrequited way, cares right back. Their second album, Tired of Tomorrow, is the inked in blood suicide note you’ve never had the gumption to leave, but always had the mind to. Personally, that’s a good thing, where art such as this can keep you rooted to this earth despite all that makes you want to slap that eject button. Tired of Tomorrow has the capacity to stay that hand.
Label: Relapse Records
Rooted in 90s alternative, Nothing peppers their tracks with glazed over shoegaze and grungy pop leads. Opener “Fever Queen” bursts through blackened curtains like an invasive sunbeam, its shimmering effects wavering in tandem with Dominic Palermo’s pinched croon. Here they provide their best shoegaze material, on par with genre forebears Slowdive and Ride, and at times even surpassing them. Nothing’s affection for 90s music goes hand in hand with the current zeitgeist that concerns itself with that era’s pop culture. Tired of Tomorrow winks at the decade’s pruning of punk’s aesthetics that were applied to the then burgeoning alternative rock styles. “Curse of the Sun,” among the album’s most sprawling tracks, pieces its leads from In Utero and underlying abrasion and elegance from My Bloody Valentine. With the use of nostalgia comes comfort, which can be distracting, even suffocating. Nothing’s lyricism comes in at that point, edging the ten tracks with existential bite. “Eaten by Worms” is the poster song for this aesthetic, with its video, featuring Palermo bloodied as onlookers panic over his impending expiration, juxtaposing Nothing’s exhaustion and fascination with life in a single, neat five minute package.
Predominantly a shoegaze and dream pop band throughout their short career, Nothing underscores even their grungiest moments with those styles’ shapeless grace. “A.C.D. (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)” comes off like a B-side of Siamese Dream that got itself caught up in an unpleasant war with Souvlaki. The appropriately titled “Nineteen Ninety Dream” hearkens to the equally tender, sweetly sedate “Rites of Life and Death” off their earlier Downward Years to Come. In referencing their earlier material, “Nineteen Ninety Dream” comes the closest, with Tired of Tomorrow as a whole taking great pains to move past the aggressive vacuum that made Guilty of Everything so visceral. While the latter raced forward, white-knuckled, towards the light, its successor plays within it, namely on “Everyone Is Happy” and penultimate “Our Plague,” with the latter’s misty guitar acrobatics reminiscent of Wish-era The Cure. As a nod to Nothing’s past projects, “Our Plague” fires off a volley of deliberate climaxes that if quickened wouldn’t be out of place in a hardcore song. Eschewing all theatricality and guitar fancifulness, the title track is an expanse of minor scaled piano strokes and a radiantly bleak violin. The piano keys strike distantly and deeply, evidenced by Palermo’s sonorous whisper that reeks of fatigue and woe.
To the uninitiated, Nothing can be fluffy and dreamy, but at their core is an outfit dedicated to producing powerful, euphorically nightmarish art. These songs are enhanced by their creators’ own struggles, flavored bittersweet with empathy for your listening pleasure. As music for the self-medicating, there is no better prescription than Tired of Tomorrow.
Tired of Tomorrow is available now from Relapse Records.