Cloud Nothings, ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ (Carpark)
On 2012’s “Attack on Memory,” Cloud Nothings came off like impressionable young men who heard The Wipers’ Northwest punk classic “Youth of America,” from 1981, and tried to write their own version the same week.
While it sounded amazing — as Steve Albini recordings do — it was an awkward look, like a kid trying on his father’s too-big workclothes.
But “Here and Nowhere Else,” out Tuesday, fits just right. It’s the Cleveland trio’s fourth full-length — and first great one.
22-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist Dylan Baldi’s distorted, downstroked riffs continue to mine ‘80s and ‘90s indie and punk traditions, but in more streamlined ways than before.
His bandmates, too, have tightened up. Locked in with T.J. Duke’s simple but proficient basslines, not-so-secret weapon Jayson Gerycz reels off volcanic fills with a hardcore drummer’s physicality and a jazzman’s grace. He’s high in the mix, and for good reason.
Nearly every verse is memorable enough to be a chorus, especially on A-sides “Now Hear In,” “Psychic Trauma” and the fiery “Just See Fear,” below. The last track, “I’m Not Part of Me,” is the catchiest of all, making a case for flipping the record and beginning again.
Grizzled listeners may approach Cloud Nothings’ millennial angst with some skepticism, but they’ll discover that what the band lacks in profundity, it makes up for with melody and urgency.
As for those closer to Baldi’s age — or fans of punkish pop, in general — here’s your new favorite album.