I’ve been a fan of Cloud Nothings for a while; to be a dedicated one, there’s a lot of leg work involved, given they produce an album once every couple of years, most recently Last Building Burning in October 2018.
For me, Attack on Memory literally did what the title promised, searing its place in my unconscious, as the best albums do. From this, and their next few records, they established a name, practically created their own genre and generated a loyal fanbase (who were very evident on Friday 22nd January, when the band played Brighton’s Patterns).
It is possible, of course, that a sound so unique and well received could potentially halt progression in other ways; don’t fix it if it ain’t broke etc. However, that doesn’t make for the most exciting show.
My thoughts on Friday were concerned with this dilemma, oscillating between, firstly, being glad to see a band I’d been enamoured with in 2012 would sound so very similar to how they did in 2012. Or, secondly, being pretty bored that a band I’d been enamoured with in 2012 would sound so very similar to how they did in 2012.
See where I’m coming from?
It’s both a blessing and a curse. If you’d never heard of them before, as long as you’re a fan of the thrashing, raspy pop-punk whirlwind that’s their signature, I’d say it was definitely a win; an exciting discovery, definitely no other bands that sound like them, great.
However, when you’ve been following a band for the best part of ten years, you do start to want a bit more.
I must give them some credit, it wasn’t all the same. That being said, distinguishing one song from another became a chore way too quickly, all until the end of the show, zapping the crowd back to action with their stand out track ‘Stay Useless’.
This dilemma aside, big credit to Dylan Baldi for pulling it together when, moments previous to getting on stage, he’d apparently been spewing crisps in the toilet. This would have been unbeknown to us, of course, if he hadn’t announced it as soon as he stepped on stage.
The pace and volume they play literally all of their songs, bar maybe a couple of intros, is only achievable by those that are in peak physical condition (and possessed a love for testosterone-fuelled pop-punk), let alone with remnants of Quavers and puke in your molars.
Their support, Beachtape, don’t share this quality – but that’s in no sense a dig. Slow paced, easy listening – the kind of reclining slacker pop that you’d stick on full blast on a Sunday morning whilst tidying your house – they provide an upbeat, subtle soundtrack; a reminder that things aren’t so terrible, I suppose.
As you move down the stage, how much each individual believes that to be true declines. Like a timeline of human lineage, gradually standing more upright, from grumpy to bordering on teenage sprite; both jangle pop and slacker rock are evident audibly and visually.
In all seriousness, though, Beachtape have been around Brighton for a couple of years now, previously somewhat uneventfully, but things seem to be kicking off for them. It might just be that people finally stopped getting their name confused with half the other bands in Brighton. Either way, if you haven’t seen them yet, I’d get to it (but maybe make a note of their name now to avoid any mix-ups).