National Music Reviews May 2016

Review: Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow

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Nothing
Tired of Tomorrow

Relapse Records
Street: 05.13
Nothing = Creepoid + Cloakroom

Tired of Tomorrow is something that I have heard before, but not in a bad way. It sounded warm like old, familiar songs in my ear when I first started listening to it. The third full-length by the Philadelphia shoegazers is a vision of consistency that falls like a mournful rain. The album is, like all Nothing albums, pretty glum, but this album in particular feels spectral—not restless and ghostlike, but settled, if not quite content. There’s a comforting familiarity here, a sureness. The comfort comes from the rocking, steady rhythms that are like so many heartbeats or heavy, heaving breaths that keep you still after fucking vaulting yourself somewhere that your poor, out-of-shape lungs didn’t intend to go. It only took me a few listens to acquire that vague acquaintance around each steadily yet delicately delivered chorus pickup, or the minute changes in tonality that shift momentum. This album consists of songs that feel like a perfect movement—unaware yet perfectly executed. Not too mindful, but heady. Nothing have zeroed in so closely to the essence of their sound—atmospheric, melancholic shoegaze—that their constructing this album seems less like an effort and more like pulling out of the air something that just already inherently existed.

The first track, “Fever Queen,” starts off with nearly 40 seconds of dream-pounding, the kind that usually comes to the forefront at the end of a song, with drums steady, hard and foretelling. It dips under a smooth, atmospheric wave and launches immediately into lyrics that are, at the beginning of this album, already apologizing: “I know now that I shouldn’t push you away.” Nothing’s tirelessly rhythmic drums carry on through the next four songs, and at one point in “The Dead are Dumb,” the swells of dreamy guitar reminded me for a second of any song off of Wish by The Cure. “Vertigo Flowers” is the first song to pick things up with a faster, upswinging approach that leads in perfectly to my favorite song on the album, “ACD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder),” which holds a little more fuzz and grime in its guitars, colluding with (the most) infectious rhythms and percussion and the occasional swirling riff that’s also clipped and metallic. The snare taps out a foreshadow of energy just before the chorus: “Here we are again / Someone find a cure for this / You know me and you know I am not well / I always knew I would eventually hurt you.” My ear sticks on the “You know I am not well,” which pounds softly but surely, like feet running on hard earth.

The energy that Nothing push out could be perceived as death-related. This energy, melancholy but touching, is consistent song to song, the lyrics tied together by their mostly having been written after frontman Domenic Palermo was assaulted and seriously injured last May in Oakland while on tour. The months surrounding that event also involved deaths of people close to some of the band members, which makes this beautiful album even more impressive. It doesn’t seem far-fetched to think that it gets its heavy sense of ethereality from those experience, with its single “Eaten by Worms,” which starts off with Kurt Cobain–esque vibes that bleed into grim lyrics: “It’s unaffordable, it’s unattainable, it’s uncontrollable.” Even with subject matter that’s a little dark, they are not bogged down by it, but rather propelled forward by the inevitability of time. Time pushes up against us always, but with this album, Nothing are pushing back, yielding, then pushing back some more in a way that makes for a really cathartic listen. –Erin Moore