by Steve Ciccarelli, edited by Erik van Rheenen
It’s got to be a hard thing, writing a great record. A record that brings praise from all sides, a record that raises awareness and expectations with it. What’s harder is writing the next record when the dust has settled and a band is left to its own devices.
After Attack on Memory,it would be high time, historically, for Cloud Nothings to camp out in a remote cabin for six months to write. Or work with Brian Eno, or use only Roland Juno synthesizers, or claim that the record is the soundtrack to eating a burrito. But instead of indulging clichés, Here and Nowhere Else is a logical progression that shows a band that has figured itself out and ran with it.
“Now Here In” is a more immediate opener than “No Future/No Past,” a messy pop song that flows through transitions with the charm that would be heard on an initial demo. Where “No Future” was an ominous beginning, a brooding stomp through darkness, “Now Here In” is gripping in its straightforwardness.
“Quieter Today,” an angular sprint of crunchy, cutting guitars. The drums sound charmingly confused and purposefully inconsistent. “Every time I feel okay my head moves forward,” Dylan Baldi sings before breaking out his old issues of Guitar World to break off some ripping lead guitar lines. It’s unfortunate that his guitar playing is almost an afterthought. Baldi’s a J. Mascis for the Tumblr generation, a Guitar Hero for an electronica age.