Nothing Tired Of Tomorrrow

[Relapse; 2016]

Styles: alternative, shoegaze
Others: Pity Sex, Title Fight’s Hyperview, Cloakroom, The Daysleepers

Philadelphia band Nothing’s debut Guilty Of Everything was a promising if flawed proposition. It excelled on the tracks where the band presented its shoegaze side, but these songs were paired with alternative rock that didn’t fare as well. If you tended to find the latter appealing, then you may find lots to love about about that album’s follow-up, Tired Of Tomorrow, which arrives carrying the same baggage with a slightly glossier finish. Even with production duties handled by higher-profile producer Will Yip, it’s both a blessing and a curse for the band that these stylistically divergent tracks share space on the same record. The original crop of shoegazers barely managed to navigate these waters themselves (see the follow-ups to classic albums by Ride, Swervedriver, and Lush), increasingly incorporating aspects of Britpop into their music. Alternative rock had a knack for coming across anthemic, and I think that’s what Nothing are aiming for on some of these songs. But it takes a lot to elevate a song like “Zero” by Smashing Pumpkins to the status it has, an almost incomprehensible “je ne c’est quoi,” and Billy Corgan always sold his songs by the heft of the supporting music. “Zero” had a guitar solo so jaw-dropping in its bizarre, pitch-bent alien notes that it’s easy to forget how cheesy it can also appear to the haters focusing on its flowery lyrical content and nasally vocals. Nothing make a gutsy go of it though, and succeed more often than they fail.

To Nothing’s credit, their actual music is mostly tight, and even their vocal affectations come across effective with few exceptions. The drums in particular on this album sound amazing, and Nothing have definitely learned a thing or two in between albums about using crushing dynamics to great effect. Unfortunately, there are times when the combination of a particular note and lyric rob the band of its power. To the detriment of Tired Of Tomorrow, it seems that either the band or Yip (who has recently worked on favorably comparative records by Title Fight and Pity Sex) have chosen to push the vocals higher in the mix than most bands that carry the shoegaze tag. Take single “Vertigo Flowers” for instance, whose verses lead in with a prioritized vocal that makes it ring cliché. Luckily, the song is salvaged via a driving rhythm and glorious string-bent guitar lines.

But it’s this variation in quality that can be jarring. Things fare much better overall on excellent opener “Fever Queen,” which is ultra lush and sounds heavy as hell, relying on very little distortion to get its point across. Even better is “The Dead Are Dumb,” a song that brandishes an aching echo guitar tone coupled with nice atmospheric lead work. But the album is weighed down by compositions like “Eaten By Worms” and its title track. The former leads in with a quiet section that sounds oddly like something Dave Grohl has done before until it applies a corrective crescendo with heavy distortion. “Tired Of Tomorrow” ends the album with a turgid six-plus minute piano ballad that plays to none of the band’s strengths. It almost makes the listener forget how great the preceding tracks have been.

The narrative surrounding the band to date has been mostly inflammatory, damages this album should mitigate. Nothing’s formation came on the heels of singer/guitarist Dominic Palermo’s release from prison on assault and attempted murder charges, about which the band has been open. In 2015, he was beaten so badly after a show in Oakland that he ended up in the hospital with brain trauma, and Nothing had to cancel a string of dates with Hum and Failure. In interviews, he’s been forthright about dealing with alcoholism and depression, admitting that he at one point nearly ended his life. To say that Nothing’s lyrical content can get dark is an understatement; hard to believe, considering the weightlessness their music conveys. At the very least, Tired Of Tomorrow should set things squarely back on the band’s music, something they’re refining to a sharp point.

Links: Nothing - Relapse

Most Read