Cloud Nothings are an indie rock band out of Cleveland, Ohio. The four piece band has been creating varied styles of indie rock since 2009. Attack on Memory (2013) and Here And Nowhere and No Life For Me (2014) were albums I enjoyed most from them. So, of course, I was anticipating this latest release Life Without Sound, and in listening to it, though initially disappointed I realised it might be their best work to date.
Cloud Nothings has always been a band known to be competent in different styles of rock music. From their more noise-pop beginnings to the bleak, emotional hardcore of Attack on Memory they’re known for. This LP takes all those elements and makes them work cohesively. The more pop/melodic leaning tracks like “Things Are Right With You” and “Modern Act” showcase an ability to be catchy while packing enough distortion and noise to be riveting. “Darkened Rings” is one of the more exhilarating records on the album in that it has more of a raw punk energy as does a “Sight Unseen.” You can feel the passion coming out on those tracks. The vocals on those tracks tend to be a bit deeper and gruff, and I prefer the more aggressive sides of Cloud Nothings sound.
While those are all strong, the last couple tracks are my favorites. “Strange Year” is a brooding record that finds throat vocals with a thick guitar sound. Still, it’s the lyrics that get me as it’s a song about going through a year that changes your life and living with the knowledge that things will never quite be the same. The final cut is another sprawling track with pounding drums and emotive vocal performance. It’s a dark track that ends the album out emphatically.
Life Without Sound has themes of internal struggle. The album seems to be about trying to make your inner vision of yourself a reality but still falling short. Songs like “Internal World”, “Enter Entirely” and “Realize My Fate’ rather cryptically bare that out as tracks go from struggling to recognizing the fact things won’t change in the end. As typical with Cloud Nothings it’s an album of pain and struggle and insecurity, and I believe they capture that well here.
When I initially put on the album the lighter sound of some of the tracks didn’t necessarily sit right with me but through listening to it more, I found they give the album a bit dynamic than previous releases. You’re still getting emotional resonant songwriting , this album just takes you on more of a ride musically which in turn makes up for the consistent atmosphere of an album like Attack On Memory. Life Without Sound is great work and another step forward the band.