Remember back in April when a national lockdown was optimistically unveiled as only for a few weeks? Remember when the States hadn’t really come into contact with the virus? So does Nothing’s Domenic Palermo, who – with the band’s characteristic cynicism – quite literally laughs at the proverbial different time on standout ‘April Ha Ha’. “Isn’t it strange watching people trying to outrun rain,” he asks rhetorically, turning his eye to the fantasists and securing ‘The Great Dismal’s crushing realism.
Holed up with producer Will Yip for an extended period of isolation, the band encapsulate the claustrophobia of 2020. The beauty of free-flowing opener ‘A Fabricated Life’ gives way to the dense guitars of ‘Say Less’, opening up a continuous unsettling juxtaposition of the two. Domenic’s understated harmonies with Cloakroom’s Doyle Martin sit against an unrelenting wave of shoegaze-inspired reverb, and much like Nothing’s forefathers, create a delicate heaviness that embodies both the ennui and overwhelming irritation of lockdown.
But it does so with a glimmer of hope in its sprawling soundscapes, as vast as they are sorrowful. Even as Domenic declares that “paradise is somewhere else” on ‘In Blueberry Memories’, at least there’s an acknowledgment that it does in fact exist. On a record that outwardly calls for the end of us, there’s plenty to live for, even if it’s simply the subtle beauty of Nothing. That’s not so dismal after all.
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