After Cleveland band Cloud Nothings were scaled down to a power trio, the band simply decided to roll with it and see what would happen. The end result was 2014's Here and Nowhere Else – an urgent, electric record that saw the band use their lineup circumstances to their full advantage. When it came to writing the album’s follow-up, however, founding member Dylan Baldi knew that he was looking to expand the band's sound back out into twin-guitar territory.
“I definitely wanted to make a record with two guitars this time,” he says. “Being the only guitarist is fun, and I enjoyed it while it lasted. My concern was that unless I wildly changed the way I played guitar, I felt like I was going to do the exact same thing as I did on Here and Nowhere Else. That wasn't of interest to me. I don't like to be the kind of artist that repeats myself. I always like to try and do things at least a little differently. This was my way around that.”
Together, the four-piece put together Life Without Sound, the fourth studio album from the band and their first new material since No Life for Me, a collaborative album with Wavves in 2015. A more melodic, structured indie-rock record, the album is peppered with catchy choruses and bright guitar across highlights such as ‘Internal World’ and lead single ‘Modern Act’, which came out at the tail-end of 2016.
“I was interested in writing things that were a lot more clearly structured as songs,” says Baldi. “That might seem like a strange thing to say, but there have definitely been aspects of our last few records that have been a lot more focused on being frantic and being noisy. I wanted to see what it would be like to try a record that's slower and more song-oriented, to peel back a layer and see what happened.”
While Baldi and co. are happy with the results, and Life Without Sound has garnered some of the strongest reviews of the band's career, Baldi predicts that their fifth album – whenever that may arrive – will serve as an equal and opposite reaction. “I'd like it to have longer songs,” he says. “I think it will be less poppy and more progressive, with different movements in it. I've kind of touched on that in the past with songs like 'Wasted Days' [from 2012's Attack on Memory], but I'd like this to be even more expansive. I mean, why not? Like I said, I don't like repetition.”
Before Baldi and co. reach the next phase of Cloud Nothings, the band will bring touring in support of Life Without Sound to a close with an Australian tour next February. Having performed extensively through Europe and North America, Baldi is looking forward to the band's return for only their third-ever tour of Australia.
“It seemed like there was very little chance that we were actually going to be able to make it out there on the back of this record,” he says. “I was pretty bummed about that. The last two times we've been there have been the best. We've had so much fun, and we've gotten to see some beautiful parts of the country. We got to do Laneway Festival, and all of the crowds there were just absolutely incredible.”
When asked about his personal highlights of Australia, however, Baldi immediately thinks of something away from the stage and the festival grounds. “This was the last thing that I saw in Australia the last time we were there,” he says. “It was our Australian tour manager's son kicking a cop in the knee. It was amazing.”
Cloud Nothings’ Life Without Sound is out now via Inertia. Catch them on tour from Friday February 23 – Tuesday February 27, 2018.