Cloud Nothings, Here and Nowhere Else (Carpark Records)
Dylan Baldi’s fourth album as Cloud Nothings follows right along where 2012’s masterful Attack on Memory left off. Both albums are full of rigid textures worked into smooth arrangements, both make good use of the juxtaposition of bright and dark spaces, and both are solid examples of thrashing pop punk freneticism.
But the two albums differ most in their production and overall vision, due in part to the void left by producer Steve Albini. Whereas the Albini-distilled Attack on Memory featured generally longer songs that pushed Baldi to be more inventive in his use of musical space and tempo, Here and Nowhere Else sticks (with one notable exception in “Pattern Walks”) to a ‘90s radio punk template of 3-4 minute songs that go only one place and get there in a hurry.
Overall, Baldi and company offer a solid and nuanced update to the avant-garde-leaning pop punk template, but fall short of creating something as innovative and engaging as their previous effort.