Words About Music
Nothing “Guilty of Everything”
I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, Jakob, I thought Deafheaven released the last shoegaze album that matters! What’s with this ‘Nothing’ band everyone keeps talking about? Why does shoegaze even still exist?” Well those are all valid points. But let me tell you that Philadelphia’s Nothing is making some of the most compelling shoegaze music in recent history. For those who don’t know, shoegaze music is generally noisy but simultaneously dreamy music in which the guitars are covered in different effects and the vocals are usually low in the mix. It’s all about the aesthetic and less about the lyrical content. It was made popular in the United Kingdom in the late 80s and early 90s but kind of went away with the breakups of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride. With the reunions of the former two and a resurgence of the classic shoegaze sound, we are in the midst of a new gaze into the world of shoegaze. Though bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Silversun Pickups, and Pity Sex have incorporated those sounds into their not-entirely-shoegaze music, we’ve seen mostly a shortage of bands that really cover the genre and do it justice. Enter Nothing.
To my knowledge, this is Nothing’s debut studio album and it has been released on Relapse Records which is known for destructively heavy bands like Baroness, Indian, Windhand, and Toxic Holocaust. To be honest, Nothing doesn’t really fit in on this label. Sure, the music is distorted, heavy, and fairly energetic in some parts, but Nothing is mostly a typical shoegaze band. Sort of.
The metal affiliation isn’t unwarranted. With bands like Deafheaven and Alcest recently making forays into music heavily inspired by the shoegaze genre, it’s being opened up to a wider variety of fans. And rightfully so. Nothing is the perfect blend of noise, post-rock classiness, and metallic scuzzy lo-fi indie-friendly garage rock. The layered reverb may put a few people off, but to me Nothing does a great job of combining different styles and still remaining true to shoegaze history.
From beginning to end, “Guilty of Everything” delivers some hard-hitting tunes. It’s what you’ll want to listen to when your eyes are closed on a bus ride. It’s what you’ll want to hear when you’re lying down in the grass in the spring. It’s what you’ll dance to on the beach. As dark as “Guilty of Everything” can seem, the album is surprisingly upbeat. It’s not quite as climactic as Deafheaven’s 2013 opus “Sunbather,” but it certainly shouldn’t go ignored. If you’re into shoegaze then you shouldn’t find anything wrong with what’s happening here. Otherwise, it seems like as good a start as any provided you aren’t really enjoying “Loveless” or “Souvlaki.”
SCORE – 8.6
FAVORITE TRACKS – Hymn to the Pillory, Dig, Bent Nail, Somersault, Get Well, B&E, Guilty of Everything
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