Turning back is never easy when you’re a band hellbent on not repeating yourself like Cloud Nothings. However after eleven years of touring the band returned to their early days of songwriting practices for their new album The Shadow I Remember. Recorded by Steve Albini, the album finds the bad touching on their early sound and delivering a more straight forward sound that’s difficult to ignore.
The album opener “Oslo” tells you all you need to know about this album. With the additional piano above the glittered guitar, it signals new touches that ring throughout the track. Employing new instrumentation into the formula for the band means the indie rock tones are more introspective and better arranged. The thunderous pounding that follows executes exactly what you’re here for, pure indie rock bliss. The following song “Nothing Without You” offers plenty of driving rock tones. The song has an immediate hook that comes before the vocals, though the sound has sprinkles of The Get Up Kids without sounding like anything was copied. The backing vocals add depth to the traditional rock sound while lifting things up.
Where “Only Light” heads into heartier territory, the song has the Albini “production” feel that comes off in the moment. “Open Rain” continues this chaotic and frenzied pace. The band is firing on all cylinders here, opting for an energy driven sound graced with melodic notes. “A Longer Moon” keeps this fevered sound humming along as well. The band keeps the energy high here along with distorted sounds that stay in the pocket.
But the band also steers from straight indie rock as well. “Nara” takes a turn towards the melody driven side of the band. The song still holds plenty of energy but steers into its own space as well. On “Sound Of Alarm” they reel in to that tonal quality that bands like The Replacements and Husker Du perfected. The almost college rock side of indie rock comes through with an array of guitar tones. But of the eleven the favored track is easily “It’s Love.” The song snips through with wild drums and guitars while holding screamy vocals in place. There’s just a heartiness here that cannot be denied as the band keeps the melodic notes in check without losing them. The Shadow I Remember is Cloud Nothings at a turning point where they can still hold their own without losing hat made them great as they grow.
The Shadow I Remember is available in multiple formats and bundles from Carpark Records. It’s also available to stream on all streaming platforms or to purchase in all digital outlets. Cloud Nothings will appear at The Grog Shop in Cleveland, OH via livestream on February 27.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Carpark Records.