Cloud Nothings - Last Building Burning (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Cloud Nothings

Last Building Burning (2018)

carpark records

No matter how they vary their sound Cleveland's Cloud Nothings always deliver. I'll be the first to admit I'm a fan of their more boisterous nature, but even when they tamed things down on 2017's Life Without Sound, it was so technically solid (melodic indie-rock) that there wasn't much to criticise. They went for a more mainstream, accessible sound but pulled it off pretty well, but still with their sonic stamp. And as experimental as it was, it felt like a sound they could comfortably wear as their own. Well, Last Building Burning goes right back to their feisty basics of old, throwing back in the punk haze of 2012's Attack on Memory.

I knew a lot of fans were giddy when the first couple singles dropped off this record because going back to roots is something any Cloud Nothings would love. The frenetic punk essence of songs like "On An Edge" and "In Shame" represent them at their relentless best. Seriously, these songs do not let up. Slick riffs, rapid work on the kit and baselines that'll surely leave bloody thumbs fill the record as they remove the shimmer of the last album, and get into a more grimy direction. Again, this fast, loud and abrasive nature is an approach that you'd honestly want to introduce fans who are now hearing them for the first time to, so it's hard to argue with going back to winning formula.

Even the breezy, mid-temp indie jams like "Leave Him Now" (surely meant to sate fans who love their slower style) feel like CN have refined every strategy of old and vocalist Dylan Baldi now knows how to distill his lyrics/delivery to match either style. "Dissolution" encompasses just about every era of the band -- and it's a musical feast running for 11 minutes -- but if you want a snapshot at where I think CN should go in the future, it's "Offer An End" which is an emo/shoegaze jam where Baldi does his best Billy Corgan impression.

Seriously, these songs feel like Smashing Pumpkins demos -- grainy, rough, atmospheric -- like if they were made in a garage, and I think that's exactly what CN wanted to achieve. Rough, raw and rugged, but still jangly, catchy and head-poppy enough to leave you wanting more. Honestly, this ranks in their top two records to date (but we'll debate that another time). Just dive in for now.