Lo-fi saw widespread popularity in the Indie world over the course of 2009 and 2010. Wavves, Small Black, Blank Dogs, Best Coast, Beach Fossils and a host of others all found success with the genre. Cloud Nothings’ initial releases were in a similar vein, with them finding fame in the online music press and blogosphere from the hugely hyped ‘Hey Cool Kid’. By towards the end of the year, it seemed possible that lo-fi had perhaps run its course. Wavves’ Nathan William’s released his third album with a cleaner sound, incorporating more electronic elements too. Cloud Nothings continued the trend, releasing Leave You Forever EP in October of last year. Like Wavves, the fuzz and distortion was gone, replaced with crisp guitars and cleaner vocals.
They’ve continued down this path with their self titled debut and improved upon it further. Dylan Baldi’s voice has become more prominent, although it can be whiney and slightly annoying at times, with ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ a good example of this. The majority of the tracks are between two to three minutes in length, with the longest being just under three and a half minutes. In total the album is just over 28 minutes long. This makes it on the relatively short side, but also near perfect in length. Baldi knows when catchy power pop becomes annoying power pop and hence is careful to not drag out ideas, something many far more well-regarded musicians struggle with. Cloud Nothings are undoubtedly at their best when they’re sharp and to the point.
Most the album is relatively equal in terms of quality, with a few tracks that standout slightly. Single, ‘Should Have’ is especially catchy with the chorus “I always knew I’d follow you and I would know it’s much better” practically made for drunken sing alongs. Track eight; ‘You’re Not That Good at Anything’ has a heavier sound, with Baldi’s voice and the guitars working nicely together. Following track, ‘Been Through’ also works well with Baldi again demonstrating his talent for songwriting and catchy choruses: “I have understanding, but I can’t believe what you’ve been through”.
The main man behind Cloud Nothings, Dylan Baldi has gone through an obvious transformation in the last year and a bit. He’s matured as a song writer and has managed to change the sometimes maligned lo-fi sound, which is often discussed by critics as being used to mask poor musicianship. A prolific song writer, Baldi and Cloud Nothings look like a band we’ll be seeing much more of.
From Louis Rankin.