Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Cloud Nothings - Turning On (Wichita)

Cloud Nothing's 'Turning On' landed in my lap a little over a week ago and I've been struggling to listen to much else since. I had heard a few tracks some months ago and listened to them just as religiously, however recently being presented with 13 catchy lo-fi ditties to review, I was in musical heaven.

Turning On is a compilation of the Cleveland Ohio based group's collection of songs from over the years, some previously unreleased and therefore considered 'rare'. The earliest of material comes from when front man Dylan Baldi was merely eighteen years of age and recorded some tracks on his pc at home, which will certainly answer any questions about the quality of production on this record. Yes this really is lo- fi indie bedroom rock in it's most primitive form. Beautiful.

Some say this lack of production lets the record down, however I lean toward the other side of the fence. I'm all in favour of incomprehensible vocals blasting through my speakers which I can make my own lyrics up to as distorted guitar and drums thrash over any potential clarity on offer.

At times I am reminded of Mark Linkous' distorted alternative indie rock group Sparklehourse coming through fused with the poppier, janglier aspects of The Strokes. The first track on the album, 'Can't Stay Awake', particularly resonates with the ghost of Linkous. Only one minute in and we're confronted with the messy, escalating, skuzzy rampage of guitar that was ever present on Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot on tracks like 'Someday I Will Treat You Good. '

Simultaneously, the guitar work at times is prone to doing a proverbial U turn and taking on a much more structured path. Strummin's super laid back tempo demonstrates the band's ability to slow things down when needed. Vocally, Strummin sounds like Julian Casablanca's snuck into Baldi's bedroom to record the vocals for the second half of the track, with the highly catchy 'My baby's been gone for 14 years/ the last time I saw her she was only wearing tears” as it's densely layered, looped chorus at the end.

Turning On is packed with energy and enthusiasm which fills me with great positivity that Cloud Nothings will produce a solid full length debut album soon enough. At times it seems the influences are worn on the band's sleeve a little bit too noticeably, however considering some of the tracks were first recorded at the supple age of 18, the silver lining is Cloud Nothings will flourish into their own soon enough.

Words : Neil Phillips

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