Published Oct 17, 2018Cloud Nothings have spent several albums exploring the middle ground between perky pop punk and ragged alt-rock, and Last Building Burning finds the Cleveland band honing in on what they do best. These eight tracks are soaked in explosive distortion and frontman Dylan Baldi's larynx-pushing screams — but the noise-mongering never comes at the expense of good hooks.
Opening cut "On an Edge" comes out the gate like a juggernaut, with ultra-fast punk rhythms and Baldi's throaty barks. And while the rest of the album isn't quite so frantic, the rowdy energy rarely lets up: "The Echo of the World" has a hint of shoegaze in the way its guitars are enveloped in white-noise fuzz, while the harmonies of "Leave Him Now" harken back to the giddy earworms of Cloud Nothings' early days. Even when the tempo slows down for the sunburnt "So Right So Clean," the cranked distortion and pummelling instrumental breaks keep the intensity high.
A third of the album's runtime is taken up by a single song, the 11-minute epic "Dissolution," which goes from thunderous noise rock to feedback-laden abstraction and back again. With a towering crescendo, the song is guaranteed to be a set-closer for the foreseeable future. It's a rare moment of ambitious sprawl in an album that's otherwise lean, loud, and a no-nonsense celebration of Cloud Nothings' strengths. (Carpark)