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Release Date: 27/01/2017
Label: Wichita Recordings

Cleveland-based Cloud Nothings 4th studio record Life Without Sound is, in a word, frustrating. The basic and predictable chord progressions provide a dull platform for the melodies to work with,  and the opening 3 tracks are padded out with inconsequential sound possessing very little endeavour.

Single ‘Enter Entirely’ brings some much-needed excitement to proceedings. Unlike all of the prior tracks it actually has a hook, and a good one at that, and for the first time on the record Dylan Baldi parks the monotone vocal and allows a rawer and more appealing effort to take centre stage. With clear influences put to good work, a shift in the tides makes for a brighter and more imaginative second half of the album. From an essence of The Cribs met handsomely with a touch of Strokes swagger in ‘Sight Unseen’, to the Ride-infused and somewhat triumphant closing track ‘Realise my Fate’, Cloud Nothings’ salvage their work from the wreckage that is the opening 3 tracks.

Though heavier than their previous releases, it’s clear that the band are displaying a dedication to their sound, even if that chosen style works against a newfound crave for loudness.  Unfortunately, however, it’s difficult to view this work in any other way than “filler-filled.” The songs don’t provide any clear counterpoint for mixing slow and fast-paced tracks, and the guitar throughout is held back by its super-clean production, rendering it powerless and uninteresting.

Life Without Sound is a melancholy effort that evokes similar feelings to that of when you can’t think of an actor’s name- familiar, but ultimately out of reach.

6/10

Words by Alec Larkin-Riley

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