Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Cloud Nothings

  • Cloud Nothings [Carpark, 2011] **
  • Attack on Memory [Carpark, 2012] A-
  • Here and Nowhere Else [Carpark, 2014] ***
  • Life Without Sound [Carpark, 2017] A-
  • The Shadow I Remember [Carpark, 2021] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Cloud Nothings [Carpark, 2011]
Sincere ex-brat faces mortality and/or sexual insecurity without whining or fronting about it ("Nothing's Wrong," "Been Through") **

Attack on Memory [Carpark, 2012]
Although his voice is lower and his guitar solos are longer, the idea that Dylan Baldi has therefore achieved some sort of maturity is silly. Come on--the guy's 20. His attack on memory isn't a young hero jousting with history, it's a callow confusenik trying to forget: that It's all been done before, sure, but that's the least of it. How about: Life is hard and then you die? Or: Old people have all the stuff? Or: I don't have a clue what the world will be like when I'm 40? Or merely: 40--that's two times 20, God!? These are all honorable thoughts that have required reiteration and adjustment for as long as I've been alive. Slight individual recalibrations of the noize-toon continuum have oft proved useful in getting them under control. Such recalibrations are harder than they look and much harder than most confuseniks assume. Congrats to Baldi for getting one right. A-

Here and Nowhere Else [Carpark, 2014]
Further adventures in the aesthetic of the tantrum ("I'm Not Part of Me," "Now Hear In") ***

Life Without Sound [Carpark, 2017]
As his fellow 25-and-thereabouts debate Dylan Baldi's musicianship and originality, I don't doubt the first, don't sweat the second, and continue to find him an admirable young guy who's less a kid every time out. But because his voice and guitar distinguish themselves within such a narrow range, you have to give each album time to sink in, and his growth isn't instantly apparent here. Where previously he wrote and recorded off the cuff, this one didn't come so easy, and it couldn't have helped that he'd taken on a second guitarist. But that may just be why his ongoing project of becoming more human opens up as never before if you give the record a chance. Skeptics should start with "Darkened Rings," where he propels the frustration he's lamenting into Hüsker Dü territory. A-

The Shadow I Remember [Carpark, 2021]
No matter how evolved your noise-tune fusion, 29 is about as late as "I need to make time for me" is a lyric you can get away with ("Sound of Alarm," "Nara") **

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