Tracing the origins of a band isn’t always the most enthralling of stories these days; the usual common denominator today tends to be wealthy parents who can afford to support their little darlings in the quest for musical greatness. I start like this, because Nothing’s origins are the anything but predictable or boring. Much has been documented about the band’s decision to drop their label Collect Records after finding out Martin Shkreli was a silent partner, as well as front-man Dominic Palermo serving two years in jail for aggravated assault and attempted murder, then throw into the mix some personal trauma and you’ve almost got an Oscar winner. Fast forward, somehow, and Nothing return with Tired Of Tomorrow on Relapse Records; a hugely ambitious piece of work that channels both physical and mental suffering into catharsis.
‘Fever Queen’ is our first taste, a sudden burst of reverb-ladled guitars introduce the track before settling into Palermo’s lush vocal. It’s urgent, with a hint of desperation, a longing to make-a-mends or to forgive oneself “Stay I should know now, that I shouldn’t have pushed you away”. It’s a theme that continues throughout, and is one of the reasons why listening is so compelling.
We’ve had a few weeks to let ‘Vertigo Flowers’, the first single off the record, get under our skin. It’s an invitation to get loud, showcasing the band’s harmonies and rhythm section. As a first taste of the record, it’s thrilling. Then there’s ‘Eaten By Worms’, one of the heaviest tracks on offer with a gorgeous ending that swells beneath drums and distortion, before finally reaching it’s head-banging crescendo. If you’ve seen the video for the track, you’ve no doubt made the correlation between Palermo lying bloody and beaten on the floor to an incident after a show were he was attacked, sustaining serious injuries and inducing a lengthy hospital stay. The lyrics read like those that one might write from a hospital bed, trying to making sense of things, questioning choices that were made, looking at things on a grander scale, and generally feeling fucked up “It’s unavoidable / It’s unattainable / It’s uncontrollable”
The lyrics can sometimes be tricky to pick out on the record, buried beneath wave after wave of beautiful distortion and reverberated guitars that congeal around the ears. Though the band don’t shy away from putting it all on the page, exploring their mistakes, chastising themselves, assessing the damage they’ve caused in relationships, starkly clear on ACD (Abcessive Compulsive Disorder) “Here we are again, can someone find a cure because, you know me and you know I am not well. I always knew, I’d eventually hurt you.” It’s defeating, self-deprecating, and yet strangely hopeful.
There are softer moments on the record too, mid-album track ‘Nineteen Ninety Heaven’ flirts with dropping big riffs and a bigger chorus but never does, before ‘Curse Of The Sun’ is loud and joyful in it’s homage to grunge. Track ‘Our Plague’ lulls us into a calming mood before its stoner-rock outro slowly winds down into the ebbing title track ‘Tired of Tomorrow’. A six and a half minute goodbye, it’s a look back at everything that’s shaped the record, thought this time guitars are put aside and piano takes centre stage; “Stranded in today, clawing from the outside, and I’m tired of tomorrow on the inside.”
Listening to this record conjures a variable of emotions. Ultimately it’s dark and dense, but also inspiring and hopeful. Always remaining very relatable, it captures the complex range of human emotions which are contrasted between its lyrical themes and blooming melodies, balancing them brilliantly. There’s melancholy in abundance here, and you can’t help but feel that everything has come together on this album. Finding beauty amid the darkness is what Palermo and Nothing do. We all seek to find the positives when things go wrong, and we all eventually seek to forgive ourselves. With ‘Tired Of Tomorrow’, Nothing seem to have put old demons to rest, and in turn have created a record that invites you to escape, no matter what else is going on around you.
Live: Moth Club – May 13th