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Cloud Nothings | Last Building Burning

The Cleveland noisemakers are back at full strength on this solid return to form.

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Fast and loud and hard are good. Fast and loud and hard and creative and smart are way better. And better is exactly what you get on Last Building Burning, the action-packed fifth album from Cloud Nothings. After reining in their more dynamic tendencies on last year’s Life Without Sound, singer-guitarist Dylan Baldi and his Cleveland noisemakers are back at full strength on this solid return to form. Charging straight out of the gate and seldom breaking stride over the course of 35 intense minutes, the foursome walk the line between pop-punk, indie-rock and post-hardcore. And they do it with an engaging combination of style and substance, underpinning Baldi’s razor-wire bellow with soaring anthemic melodies — and then underpinning the whole affair with a variety of furiously driving rhythms, walls of buzzsaw guitars and sheets of cacophonous feedback. Give credit to metal producer Randall Dunn, who sharpens the edges of their sound to emphasize the band’s raw energy and muscular propulsion. Give him extra credit for achieving all that without drowning out Baldi’s angry, pessimistic tales of abusive relationships, lost opportunities and unfulfilled promise. Though based on the power and passion on display in these eight explosive tracks, he probably doesn’t need to sweat that last one.