[sic] Magazine

Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere Else

According to Cleveland rocker Dylan Baldi himself the artwork for his new LP, Here And Nowhere Else, was rushed out last minute when demanded by the label. It’s a simple shot from his bedroom window that in the end proved quite artistic. With Baldi thus thriving on impulsive and instinctive direction and with 2012’s successful switch from pop-punk to post-hardcore in mind, Here And Nowhere Else is surprising only for being his most predictable move to date.

It’s an LP that, despite plenty of anger, feels less explosive than its predecessor Attack On Memory and one that lands somewhere between his two personae as a result. Baldi’s guitars are still turned way up, the marauding tempos still pile up too – in fact it’s an album that only lets up for the first time during the middle part of the sprawling penultimate track, “Pattern Walks”, an otherwise disorientating wall of noise similar to Attack On Memory’s “Wasted Days”. Baldi’s way with strong melodies is intact too, Here And Nowhere Else therefore offering an absorbing collection of grunge-pop fuzz in iconic producer Steve Albini’s absence.

Does this all mean Baldi hasn’t upped his game? Well, perhaps (see the disappointing “Just See Fear”), but his trademark blowouts are taken to the next level here and, along with his stronger tracks, such as the loud-quiet-loud mess “Psychic Trauma”, they provide more than satisfactory compensation. At his best when he’s at his loudest therefore tracks like the solid, near stadium-sized punk-rock closer seem to lose out in comparison to, say, the thrashed-out emo of “Giving Into Seeing” on which Baldi digs out his best Bleach-era razor gargle. And there’s no contest when it comes to “No Thoughts”, which drips with bile and armchair nihilism, its spittle-flecked, speaker-blown finale destined to be yelled straight back in his face.

Here And Nowhere Else is ultimately the sound of Baldi flying by the seat of his pants, dialing in the angst for the most part, but he’s getting away with it with sheer exuberance and momentum. Maybe that off-the-cuff artwork was part of the loosest plan in history all along.

Best tracks: “Psychic Trauma” and “No Thoughts”

~Here And Nowhere Else is out now on Wichita.~