Album Review: Cloud Nothings – Last Building Burning

Cleveland four-piece Cloud Nothings have been at the top of their game since their introductory debut record Turning On which was released in 2010. Since then the band have steadily released material over the past 8 years with 6 albums under their belt (including a collaborative effort with San Diego surf rockers WAVVES), and now they are back, just over a year after releasing possibly their best record with Life Without Sound.

cloud nothings - last burning building

Last Building Burning offers everything that a Cloud Nothings record should: loud and energetic instrumentals, Dylan Baldi’s powerful vocals and intense lo-fi rock action. Cloud Nothings stand out as one of the most eye catching rock bands of the past ten years. The band continue this trend in a much more fiery and darker tone and to great success.

“I wrote this because I felt there weren’t too many rock bands doing what we are right now. A lot of other bands sound great but it’s missing a heaviness I like.” says Baldi, and it is clear to see where he is coming from. The record and the band’s sound is a direct take on their live shows. Their raw, live sound is what makes Cloud Nothings stand out amongst the rest and we get a real taster of that.

The opening track ‘On An Edge’ offers one of the band’s most intense and fast paced tracks. Baldi’s vocals are pushed to the limits as he seemingly screams his way through the opening sequence. The breakdown keeps up the momentum with choppy guitars that transform to a powerful conclusion drifting off. ‘Leave Him Now’ with its slow intro and instant build brings in a song that is typically Cloud Nothings. The catchy chorus and prominent cymbals make this a stand out track on the record. Single ‘The Echo Of The World’, with its vibrant and loud crescendo, is sure to go down well in the live arena. “Going on and on and on and on and on,” murmurs Baldi over a soft guitar riff that blends into chaos and a build that you just can’t get enough of. If extended further in likeness to the band’s 9-minute epic ‘Wasted Days’, we could well be looking at one of the band’s best tracks.

The 11-minute long goliath ‘Dissolution’ is the answer to fans of ‘Wasted Days’.  A soaring garage rock anthem, the track features nearly 6 minutes of guitar distortion and loosely played percussion that ultimately create a hypnotic, hellish and haunting atmosphere. This section is sandwiched between two cataclysmic segments of brilliance, which, although different, make for an intense and enthralling listen. Repeated distant screams and thrashing guitars underlying the chants of ‘Dissolution’ harnesses so much of Cloud Nothings’ ability and power. ‘So Right So Clean’ is a slow burner with an evident case of brutality. A thick track that packs the punch of other tracks on the record, it offers a much lower tempo and creates more of a melodic atmosphere. Yet Baldi is still found reaching vocal highs during the chorus with its crashing sounds and heavy builds.

The closing moments of any Cloud Nothings record are always a treat and ‘Another Way Of Life’ is exactly that. An energetic closer that brings you back up to speed in a moment. ‘Another Way Of Life’ blends together like a classic track. Heavy drums and a quick momentum bring this track together with roaring guitars and effortless energy. It’s a closer that leaves you wanting more from the eight-track record but further shows the ability and capability of Cloud Nothings as one of the most exciting and intense rock bands in recent years.

LAST BURNING BUILDING BY CLOUD NOTHINGS IS OUT NOW VIA WICHITA RECORDINGS.

Featured image: Daniel Topete