Cloud Nothings – Last Building Burning

Cloud Nothings have always been a terrific live act but, despite having a number of good albums, they’ve never truly managed to capture the beauty of their on-stage performances into recorded form. However, Last Building Burning is a record which finally emits the frantic energy of their gigs and a culmination of the Cleveland band’s development.

Again the group are able to perfectly bring together catchy punk melodies with blistering noise rock, but unlike the last LP, which had slightly more melodic inclinations than some fans wanted, this one transports them back to an urgent discord complete with sharp unpredictable guitar work.

There’s a visceral core to Last Building Burning, as Dylan Baldi embraces his band’s starker, faster paced roots. In a sense it’s an album of two halves: with the first four tracks all rather short before the second half contains undoubtedly the most experimental and ambitious collection of tracks they’ve ever written, including the epic 11-minute epicentre ‘Dissolution.’

“I’m obsessed with the idea of energy at the moment,” Baldi explained about the making of the record. “That’s how I thought of this record: seven short, and one long, bursts of intense, controlled chaos. I wanted to make that come across in a way that can actually be felt.”

‘On An Edge’ bursts into life from the offset as it begins with a lo-fi punk framework built around a cacophony of screeching guitars. ‘Leave Him Now’ then takes proceedings down a notch only slightly, with Baldi’s vocals having a more prominent role in what is a tightly flowing three minutes before ‘In Shame’, the highlight of the first four, takes hold: “They won’t remember my name/I’ll be alone in my shame,” the frontman cries under the backdrop of spikey riffs and relentless percussion. Carefully manufactured guitar work is then the lifeblood of one of the album highlights, first single ‘The Echo of the World.’

The aforementioned centrepiece ‘Dissolution’ arrives and is a gradual yet engrossing 11 minutes which slowly unfolds into a drum-led few minutes of feedback before a cathartic finale brings to a close the most experimental composition they’ve ever made. ‘So Right So Clean’ and ‘Another Way Of Life’ then cap off a triumphant album with their ferocious guitar work and awe-inspiring rhythmic core.

Last Building Burning is Cloud Nothings finding the perfect balance between invigorating punk and blistering noise rock, whilst still managing to retain their penchant for melody.

Paul Hill