Nothing seem to float in this very unique musical cloud of both inescapable beauty and sharp ugliness. The sounds are both pastoral and urban. Domenic Palermo’s sometimes gritty upbringing in the streets of North Philly comes through in the sounds that come through the speakers. A youth soundtracked by both hardcore and shoegaze comes through on Nothing’s records. Even in adulthood the grit followed him through his own hardcore band Horror Show and trouble with the law. Despite the problems he found his way back to music. The debut album Guilty Of Everything was a mix of jagged metal and dreamy, floating guitar chords that brought to mind early UK shoegaze bands(My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Chapterhouse come to mind), while still towing the line of hardcore and more extreme metal. What you got was sometimes brutal and sometimes beautiful, but always uniquely Nothing. Over the years the consensus was that shoegaze was this happy, trippy, and dreamy sound, but listen to some of those early records and that’s not quite the case. There was always an element of darkness and danger. An acid trip that was never quite enlightening in the eyes wide open sense, but more in the sense that the dark, ugly truth was exposed and you and you alone were privy to it. Nothing has tapped back into that darkness that was left back somewhere in the early 90s.
Nothing’s newest record, Tired Of Tomorrow, seems to find a middle ground where the dreamy aspects and the darker persuasions collide into a beautiful cloud of disenchantment. It feels inclined to give into the dark passenger and just let whatever happens happen. It’s beautifully heavy and dizzying in it’s hazy dreaminess.
The songs? There’s a lot to choose from, really. From the big anthem-ish opener of “Fever Queen” to the concise pop beauty of “The Dead Are Dumb” and the Cure-like dream pop splatter of “Vertigo Flowers”, the record opens like a vein spraying paisley designs on the wall. It seems the pitch black dread of Guilty Of Everything has been replaced with a sunnier disposition? Well, not really. “A.C.D.(Abcessive Compulsive Disorder)” finds some noisier guitar and that soulful lament back in Nick Palermo’s voice that weighed heavily on earlier fare. “Curse Of the Sun” is an overdriven crush of a track that brings back some of that “Bent Nail” vibe from Guilty Of Everything. “Eaten By Worms” sounds a touch of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” during the quiet moments before trudging through sludgy riffs and sorrowful vocals in the chorus. Piano peppers the quieter moments towards the middle of the song giving the song a gothic feel. It’s an absolute highlight here. This song is like that girl you pined for in high school; she was quiet, dark, and uniquely beautiful, yet you never had the nerve to say anything to her. This song is that regret, in music form.
But still, this album has plenty of dreamy moments. “Nineteen Ninety Heaven” could be a slow dance song at a prom somewhere in the states. It sways just right, and has just the right amount of heart string pulling in it to get all those weird, sad feelings bubbling up inside. “Everyone Is Happy”, ironic title aside, is a beautifully constructed dream pop track, and it’s nearly one of their most beautiful tracks to date. Piano only adds to this tracks ethereal beauty. The title track closes out the album with a mournful piano and Palermo’s whispered hush of a voice. It’s very reminiscent of early NIN. “Something I Can Never Have” comes to mind. It’s one hell of a way to close an already stunning record.
Nothing’s Tired Of Tomorrow isn’t promising things are gonna get better for us. Maybe even the opposite. But it’s an amazing record, filled with all the stuff amazing records are filled with; angst, sadness, contempt, and the will to fight. And it’s a next level kind of album for a North Philly punk. They may be tired of tomorrow, but not too tired to care.