By Nicholas Volpe
Album: Dance on the Blacktop
Release Date: August 2018
Label: Relapse Records
The third album and newest release by Philadelphia’s Nothing, Dance on the Blacktop, is a record that blurs the lines of many different genres. With a bit of shoegaze, post-hardcore, and emo meshed together, Dance on the Blacktop is a solid throwback to the music of bygone eras, while also staying completely relevant to the music of today.
The first track, “Zero Day,” kicks the album off with a beautiful, melancholic sound that sets the mood for the rest of the record. The heavy guitars and drums stand in direct contrast to the light, soft, and buried vocals of lead singer and founder of Nothing, Domenic Palermo. Themes of depression, anguish, and both hope and hopelessness run deep throughout the record. The tracks “Blue Line Baby” and “I Hate the Flowers” further exemplify these moods with their heavy and yet, catchy choruses.
“You Wind Me Up” takes on a sound not completely dissimilar to 90’s alternative rockers Dinosaur Jr. and showcases Nothing’s ability to strip their sound down and still remain heavy. “Us/We/Are,” on the other hand, sounds like what might have happened if Radiohead’s members grew up in the hardcore scene of Philadelphia instead of posh England. With lyrics that state, “I opened up again and cut myself instead,” and a chorus that simply repeats the lyrics, “Everything’s red,” it’s evident that Nothing still has underlying anger and depression in their music even when catering to their lighter, pop sensibilities.
Dance on the Blacktop creates a mood of its own and steps away from the more traditional shoegaze sound that Nothing became known for. The crossing of heavier genres to make something new while also staying true to their original influences sets Dance on the Blacktop apart from their previous releases to date. Although the record may not be as appealing to as many people as their previous releases, Dance on the Blacktop is still a dynamic and exciting album overall. With a growing fan base, this album may very well become a classic from a band that has so much to offer in the future.