Nothing – Dance On The Blacktop (2018) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz]

Nothing – Dance On The Blacktop (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 43:26 minutes | 887 MB | Genre: Indie Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Relapse Records

NOTHING’s third full-length recording, Dance On The Blacktop, is the next chapter in the band’s tumultuous story and like its predecessors, pulls from all corners of life with a focus on the bleak and despairing. Captured by renowned producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile) at Dreamland Studio in Woodstock, NY, Dance On The Blacktop is a stirring collection of songs accentuating the band’s love for all sounds 90s from both sides of the pond; from alternative rock and shoegaze to the realms of pop and post-punk. Across the course of 45 minutes, NOTHING weave together nine tales of heightened confusion, anxiety, paranoia, depression and chronic pain juxtaposed against angelic yet apocalyptic, reverberating walls of shimmering sound. Dance On The Black Top is a fervent, emotional tour-de-force, the sound of a band at the peak of their individuality.

Nothing’s third album, like their first two, is wrapped around tragedy and hard luck. The shoegaze band led by Domenic Palermo debuted with the powerfully monolithic and dark Guilty of Everything, which dealt with his stay in prison and the guilt and pain it brought, then followed it with the lighter and less focused Tired of Tomorrow. That record was made in the aftermath of a brutal beating Palermo underwent after a concert and reflected some of the lightness he must have felt as he recovered. It also scaled back the metal influence of the first album in favor of a glossy alt-rock sound. After a couple back stories like that, it would only seem fair that Palermo catch a break, but it wasn’t to be. Sometime before beginning work on the album he was diagnosed with the beginnings of CTE, a degenerative brain disease. It was a tough break and some of the confusion and depression leaks out into the lyrics of the band’s third album, Dance on the Blacktop, though much of it sticks to the sunnier sonic territories of their second record. The band buffers the sadness of the words with a clearly layered wall of distorted guitars, a tightly wound rhythm section, and lots of sweet vocal harmonies that help cushion the blow. Palermo’s lead vocals are soft and aching, soaring above the sculpted noise like a lightweight glider as he tries to make sense of the direction his life has taken. Though it’s not too different than Tired of Tomorrow sonically, there’s something here that makes the record much more listenable. Chalk it up to the greater depth of emotion in the words or the way the guitars have a little bit more power and therefore more emotional power; definitely give the increased stakes of the words credit, too. It’s clear that Palermo is going through something heavy, and the music does a good job backing him, feeling for feeling. Shoegaze is famous for being gauzy and hazy, but his suffering anchors this album, and heavy tracks like “Us/We/Are” and “(HOPE) Is Just Another Word with a Hole in It” hit like hammers, pretty pop songs like “Blue Line Baby” and “Hail on Palace Pier” leave a mark as they float by, and desolate ballads like “Plastic Migraine” feel like the saddest thing one might hear all day. It’s too bad more personal tragedy is what it took to right the ship, but Nothing’s third album is a worthy successor to their great debut. ~ Tim Sendra

01. Zero Day
02. Blue Line Baby
03. You Wind Me Up
04. Plastic Migraine
05. Us/We/Are
06. Hail On Palace Pier
07. I Hate The Flowers
08. The Carpenter’s Son
09. (Hope) Is Just Another Word With A Hole In It



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