Cloud Nothings

Last Building Burning

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Over the years, Cloud Nothings have collaborated with different producers to dive into different sides of their music. Respectively, Steve Albini and John Congleton emphasized the band's rough edges on Attack on Memory and Here and Nowhere Else, while John Goodmanson cleaned them up slightly on Life Without Sound. For their fifth album, Cloud Nothings recruited Randall Dunn, known for his work with Sunn O))) among other righteously heavy acts. While Last Burning Building isn't their transformation into a metal band, Dunn's expertise at making loud bands sound great helps Cloud Nothings bring the rawness of their concerts into the studio. At times, Last Burning Building resembles an especially well-recorded live album in how well it captures the band's dynamics. After a decade of screaming his lungs out, Dylan Baldi's voice is a well-earned, well-worn rasp that Dunn doesn't shy away from on pop-inclined songs like "Leave Him Now" and "Another Way of Life" or moodier tracks such as "In Shame" and "Offer an End." It's a sound that's just as vital to Cloud Nothings' music as in-the-red guitars and frantic drumming, both of which are on full display starting with the blazing opener "On an Edge," which is the closest they've come to matching the intensity of their hardcore influences. The heft Dunn brings to the band's sound is perfect for "The Echo of the World," where climactic riffs elevate the song to towering proportions, while their mix of distortion and soul-searching has rarely sounded as effortless as it does on "So Right So Clean." Likewise, Last Burning Building's extra muscle helps the ten-minute centerpiece "Dissolution" keep listeners riveted from start to finish. Five albums in, Cloud Nothings version of maturing is to go harder and louder than ever -- and they sound all the better for it.

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