The beginning of 2017 has already offered us some very, very good indie rock with two great releases from Japandroids and Ty Segall. Much like with Ty Segall’s album, I kind of stumbled across Cloud Nothings through YouTube. It was the fantastic “Enter Entirely” that put them on my radar and when I learned that they had just released Life Without Sound with that aforementioned track, I had to see what else they had to offer.
Come to find out, Life Without Sound is right up my alley, with the kind of raw, almost garage band quality, guitar heavy rock that I love so much. You won’t find any pop rock here or really arena anthems, just a couple guitars, drums, and vocals. It all feels earnest and genuine, and done for the love of rock, in a way that feels missing from a lot of bigger releases. I mentioned “Enter Entirely” earlier and it’s honestly one of the best songs I’ve heard all year; the drums are crisp, guitars are sharp, and it’s so good when it breaks down into the hook. “Darkened Rings” is frenetic and in your face and “Up to the Surface” is a great soft opening that makes great use of the piano. The only song I wasn’t feeling was “Realize My Fate”, which was a little too all over the place for me.
“And now the lights are turning on here
My mind has fallen
And taken everything it knows now
There’s someone I would like to be if I could be but
The path is frightening
So when I fall away then I would like to see
I enter entirely”
The vocals while not the best I’ve heard, are strong enough to carry the album and he commits with such conviction that it makes it easy to overlook his shortcomings as a singer. The whole of Life Without Sound is dripped with emotion and uncertainty about life, belonging, and trying to move forward. All in all, it’s a very strong album that mostly delivers that intimate, earnest rock that I love and is easily one of the best rock releases so far in 2017.