On March 4, a band called Nothing released Guilty of Everything on Relapse Records. In passing, mention of the label renders associations with brutal extreme metal, but by and large, Nothing are a shoegaze band whose sole sonic metal credentials are, arguably, the sludgy characteristics of some of their riffs on Guilty of Everything. Other than that, frontman Dominic “Nicky” Palermo’s soft, whispery vocals float like clouds over celestially intoned guitar chord progressions and even-keeled beats. “I don’t think it fits at all,” says Palermo. He maintains, however, that, “it doesn’t matter these days.”
Truly, Guilty of Everything initially seems out of left field for a Relapse release. Opener “Hymn To The Pillory” eases into the shoegaze malaise with a sparkly chord progression as Palermo begins his vocalic despondency—and then bursts into a musical Rorschach of the catharsis of guilt. This record hearkens to the airy singing of my bloody valentine’s Kevin Shields, but the instrumentation plays out less chunky and is more depressive. Guilty of Everything, even during its upbeat and poppy moments, such as with “Bent Nail,” effectively underlines the “bitter” more than the “sweet.” “Get Well,” for instance, clocks in at about 135 BPM with catchy, major-key hooks—yet the piece spirals to gloom as the lyrics read, “It’s easier to miss/On nights as dark as this/But the black clouds/Still follow us around/There’s gotta be a way/To escape from the rain/But I/Can’t find it.” That’s the whole song—the last two stanzas repeat to surmount the song’s pep with melancholy. Dark themes abound on this record—one of Jaffe’s Relapse-band criteria.