Cloud Nothings : Final Summer

Cloud Nothings Final Summer review

Cloud Nothings‘ eighth album begins with a tentative electronic pulse. As the title track of Final Summer emerges, the suffocating electronic blanket is askew in its tenor, swelling to become something large, cosmic and defiant. It’s quite an opener, and a radical departure, eventually paving its way into a slick, jangly rhythmic indie rock sound, revealing its cacophonous drums and speckly, occasionally roaring guitars. By the time frontman Dylan Baldi’s voice comes in, the experience has already been alien, yet strangely familiar, maybe even comforting for those acquainted with the band’s prior efforts. 

This accumulation of the band’s 14-year tenure remains near its zenith, wasting no time on tracks that sit comfortably within a 2:45-3:05 range, always punchy, squealing, and thunderous with aplomb. These concise, tight compositions are driven by a necessary sonic design that is focused on delivering a payload of big hooks and choruses, a tried and true formula evident on “I’d get Along” or “Daggers of Light.” Ensuring that every ounce, every second carries with it a weightless glee or catchiness to it, the band seems to relish in trying to perfect this notion. It would be easy to call Final Summer a coda of sorts on their past few releases, but the more you listen, the less obvious that becomes. 

Not everything here is all that familiar. “Mouse Policy” ends in a dazzling, twinkling soundscape that feels at odds with the band’s signature sound. Much like the intro to the title track, it’s a smattering of experimentation that expands their capacities to deliver bigger, more nuanced and at times thrumming soundscapes—never, ever, forgoing their ability to deliver a rock song that absolutely rips. That’s paramount, and well studied listeners will hear a variety of tones, pedals, and tunings that the band has mostly shied away from up until this point. It has a deeper, richer tone at times, balanced and less narrow, intertwined with their push/pull dynamic and rhythm. 

Which keys into the detailed construction here that can be easily missed. There’s an increased attentiveness in the mixes of most tracks. “Running Through the Campus” in particular allows for a blissful engagement with every instrument at play, every nuance, pluck, thump and strum feels beautifully rendered. It’s really best listened to with a great sound system or good headphones. Those details carry this album, and devoted attention will only yield further richness and discovery. 

Final Summer is a large album, conceptually and sonically—much as the group intended it to be—but it’s as compact in duration as it is huge in sound. Far from a massive detour of the band’s prior outings, it’s a further exploration of what they already do exceedingly well. Mixed to highlight the band’s greatest qualities of squelchy guitar tones and pummeling percussion, it’s an exuberant affair that embraces its strongest qualities with hinting at bold possibilities and futures. Maybe looking that far ahead isn’t actually necessary, however, which is part of the album’s core thesis. However quickly it goes, Final Summer makes the most of its moment.


Label: Pure Noise

Year: 2024


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Cloud Nothings Final Summer review

Cloud Nothings: Final Summer

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