Philadelphia shoegazers Nothing take a step back on Dance on the Blacktop | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Philadelphia shoegazers Nothing take a step back on Dance on the Blacktop 

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click to enlarge Nothing

Nothing

Ben Rayner

In 2016, Philadelphia neo-shoegaze band Nothing released their second studio album, Tired of Tomorrow—a triumph of modern rock. Blending the wall-of-sound influence of massive-sounding 90s bands like Slowdive, Smashing Pumpkins, and My Bloody Valentine with crushingly personal lyricism and a gorgeous, melancholy sense of melody, Nothing took the musical elements they had been working with since they formed in 2010 and soared above and beyond it all. But the perfection of Tired of Tomorrow makes the band’s follow-up, the brand-new Dance on the Blacktop (Relapse), feel a disappointment by comparison. All the hallmarks of Nothing are there—the layers of blissed-out guitar, the hushed vocal harmonies, the sense of doom hiding in the hooks—but the over-the-top magic of their previous album seems to be missing. Dance on the Blacktop is by no means bad—the majority of new and old Nothingheads will undoubtedly love it—but the record has some very big shoes to fill. Unfortunately its “back-to-basics” production sounds weak and thin, and its overall lack of freshness make the album feel like a huge step backward for a band with an otherwise flawless catalog.   v

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