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Cloud Nothings' New Album Spares Us 'Life Without Sound'

Cloud Nothings' new album is titled <em>Life Without Sound</em>.
Courtesy of the artist
Cloud Nothings' new album is titled Life Without Sound.

Cloud Nothings began when leader Dylan Baldi was a freshman in college back in 2009, and the Cleveland band's early recordings capture the bratty scrappiness of seemingly directionless kids. But every subsequent album — Life Without Sound is the fourth, not counting compilations, EPs, 7" singles and a full-length collaboration with Wavves — further refines Cloud Nothings' formula, in which careening punk gets polished to a soaring shine.

For a guy who once sang, "I need time to stop moving / I need time to stay useless," Baldi sure has found a way to infuse his songs with vitality and ambition. Throughout Life Without Sound, his songs stir up a stormy churn of guitars and abused drum heads, but this terrific nine-song set — especially "Things Are Right With You," "Modern Act" and "Up To The Surface" — also comes bearing weapons-grade hooks, each richer and more polished than the last.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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