Thanks to modern shoegaze giants Whirr, Nothing has been hyped in the shoegaze scene for a pretty significant amount of time. “Guilty of Everything” marks Nothing’s debut LP, and I can confidently say that this is one hell of a debut. Nothing packs the intensity and sheer loudness of shoegaze acts such as Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine and adds their own, unique, Philly-punk spin.
After cutting his teeth in various Philly-based hardcore bands and serving jail time for aggravated assault and attempted murder, lead singer Dominic Palermo’s view of the music he should be making shifted. Due to his mother’s love of bands such as Cocteau Twins, The Cure, and Slowdive, Palermo decided to return to his familiar childhood sounds and create powerful shoegaze music. While Nothing uses traditional shoegaze sounds such as droning guitars, vocal soundscapes, and a multitude of effects pedals, Palermo adds his past hardcore intensity to the mix making for a very unique shoegaze album.
“Guilty of Everything” opens with, in my opinion, the most outstanding track on the album, Hymn to the Pillory. The track begins with standalone guitar chords and Palermo’s breathy-yet-intense vocals. As the track progresses, soundscapes are added in to the mix to create a beautifully melancholic atmosphere. After the first verse, the track explodes into an atmospheric soundscape emphasized by heavy, droning guitar riffs and explosive percussion sections that display Palermo’s hardcore past.
The album progresses elegantly from track to track, exploring different soundscapes in the process. In the song Bent Nail, listeners hear Palermo adding a very poppy tone that conflicts (in a good way) with the rest of the album. The album continues with expertly crafted shoegaze tracks, especially the second to last track titled B&E. This track begins with a darker tone than the previous songs, but ends in an extremely powerful, two and a half minute instrumental outro that leaves me with goosebumps each time I hear it.
My advice for listening to this album is to listen to it AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE. As with most shoegaze bands, Nothing utilizes massive decibel levels to increase the intensity and emotion of their music. In an interview with Vice, Palermo states that their shows usually range between 120-130 decibels, which is louder than hearing a jet engine from 100 meters away. Overall, this album is a masterpiece of modern shoegaze. Words cannot describe how excited I am for the future of Nothing.