Far from being defined by just their heavy shoegaze style, Nothing is a band that can be more accurately characterised by a propensity for catharsis. Their all-encompassing, fuzzy blanket of sound has, since their early EPs, been a comforting and effective outlet for a lot of highly-charged emotions, for both the band and their listeners.
Of course, the main reason this expression feels so genuine is because the band are pooling from an unfortunate and tumultuous past. In 2002 vocalist Dominic Palermo, despite pleading self-defence, served two years for an aggravated assault charge, cutting short his involvement in the hardcore scene in North Philadelphia. His time in incarceration became the subject of the band’s 2014 debut full-length Guilty of Everything for Relapse Records. The misfortune only to continue, however, when in the summer of 2015 whilst on tour with Merchandise, Palermo was violently attacked and mugged in Oakland, California, and left with fractured skull and orbital.
The consequent pains anxieties are captured beautifully in the band’s new record, Tired of Tomorrow, recorded in a month with Will Yip at Studio 4. In the single “Vertigo Flowers”, for instance, Palermo is succinct in the resulting paranoia he felt following the attack: “Anxiety, it’s all about me / Watch out for those who dare to say / That everything will be OK”. Despite this, the track is upbeat and its climax huge; it features a deliciously sassy, bluesy pitch bend that’s revisited in “Curse of the Sun”.
The slow, massive, and sometimes quite simple sound that Nothing have opted for is far from a cop-out, though; in opening belter “Fever Queen”, the vocal melody seems to lay delicately atop the heavier, half-time accompaniment. There is a momental calm in “Everyone is Happy”, as a lullaby-like melody on the keys cascades over the clean guitars and Palermo’s hushed vocals.
Whilst no-one wishes further misfortune on NOTHING, Tired of Tomorrow proves they've learnt how to make the most of it and turn it into something dark, but beautiful. Its title suggests despondency, but its content should certainly leave them hopeful.