The collaboration that lo-fi surf-rock lovers have been dreaming of is finally here! Frontman of Californian slackers Wavves, Nathan Williams has teamed up with Dyaln Baldi, Cloud Nothings singer-songwriter to produce a 9 track record bursting with futuristic lo-fi rock, twisting in elements from a variety of genres and touching upon influences from Blur, to Tame Impala. The album ‘No Life For Me’ feels darker than the work of both Wavves and Cloud Nothings and has a more atmospheric and eerie depth than the collaborators’ previous work.
The record opens with the first of two untitled instrumental interludes which sets the tone for the album’s vibe; the fuzzy guitar riffs and moody backbeats create the same atmosphere that could be felt on Yuck’s 2011 debut. The second instrumental track comes halfway through the album and offers some calm relief from some of the heavy and intense previous tracks whilst still maintaining the eerie and almost outer-space techno hints to carry the weight and depth of the vocal songs.
Stand out tracks on the record include ‘Nervous’ and ‘Come Down,’ the latter calling the likes of both the Strokes and Blur into mind for a catchy and instantly classic indie-rock track. ‘Come Down’ sees a repetitive chorus echoing over a thumping drum backbeat and plucky guitar solo to hold the track and leave the hook and chorus lingering in the brain long after the first listen. ‘Nervous’ sees a running bassline provide the backbone and canvas for clattering instruments to playfully jump from note to note to create a chaotic yet melodic sound. ‘I need to promise you that I will not go far’ claims the vocals over fuzzy and upbeat surfy riffs and a steady drumbeat. The experimental instrumental solos never stray too far and these moments provide glimpses of brilliance and musical freedom, which reflects the feel of the whole record. Closing track ‘Nothing Hurts’ opens a more vulnerable and raw wound of the pair’s collaborative effort. The emotive and raw lyrics and toned-down instruments fizzle out into an echoing and eerie wilderness leaving the listener feeling exposed and craving more.
Whilst all of the tracks contain this instrumental flair, at times the effect is a little overdone. Title track ‘No Life For Me’ is a heavy and exciting rock track which eases into the more indie territory that the collaborative pair are more comfortable with. ‘Hard To Find’ sounds less polished than some of the other tracks on the album, which perhaps was the idea, however, the screechy chorus over-emphasises the intensity that many of the other tracks created with half the effort.
‘No Life For Me’ is a brilliant album; Williams and Baldi delve into a mixture of genres whilst also sticking to their guns on what they know works well. Fans of the pair’s bands will not be disappointed; the surfy upbeat vibe of Wavves and Cloud Nothings always linger below the surface of the heavier and more intense tracks. However, for new listeners the album holds a more mature and atmospheric effort from the indie slackers. The eerie and moody feeling haunts the whole record making it an album you won’t forget in a hurry.
‘No Life For Me’ is out now on Ghost Ramp. The full track-listing for the album is …
‘How It’s Gonna Go’
‘Hard to Find’
‘No Life for Me’
‘Such a Drag’