Nothing - Dance On The Blacktop (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Dance On The Blacktop (2018)


Nothing are a very intriguing band which I've respected a lot because of the artistic style of mixing and mashing genres. There's a lot worked in, from emo to shoegaze to grunge that gives the melodic, shimmery feel of say, Slowdive, and then the hard-edge of Title Fight. Guilty of Everything four years ago really impressed me but then Tired of Tomorrow felt like a slight step down the ladder (albeit it still rocked). Come Dance on the Blacktop though, it's definitely a return to form. Not only do they bring back their best traits, Nothing absolutely perfects a diverse sound they've been trying to nail for some time. Not that they were bad at it, quite the opposite, but here, refining and honing finally pays off.

The Slowdive comparison comes alive on songs like "Plastic Migraine" and "Blue Line Baby." Soothing, keep-your-head-down in the crowd kinda tracks. Then there are the '90s alt-rock songs a la Zero Day which show how much Nothing appreciate bands like Smashing Pumpkins. Oh, there are some odes to bands like Third Eye Blind and My Bloody Valentine thrown in as well, little nods brought over from the last record. 

But given their post-metal/hardcore influences, while the gauge isn't turned up that far, there's something for fans of Torche and Floor on tracks like "Us/We/Are" and a little melodic grunge (for fans of Title Fight, Sainthood Reps, Citizen) on "I Hate The Flowers" -- an atmospheric sound Will Yip helped them cultivate over the years. The standout I'd say though is "Hail on Palace Pier" which feels like the Buzzcocks "Ever Fall In Love" was tempered down to Mikey Stipe on the mic for REM. 

And that's how good vocalist Dom Palermo is -- he knows when to kick it up a gear, and when it dial it down to zero. I'd have trim a couple tracks and kept it at 7... but whatever, the fat's not that bad either way. I'm glad Nothing's proving they're worth that hype once more.