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Album Review: The Shadow I Remember by Cloud Nothings

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Cloud Nothings are an indie rock band from Cleveland, Ohio. The frontman of the band is Dylan Baldi and he is joined by three other members. The band originally started as a solo project, but he eventually got other help in 2010 when performing live. After a career spanning over a decade, Cloud Nothings release their seventh studio album, The Shadow I Remember.

The first track from the album is Oslo. The track opens up with some rhythm guitars followed some a light piano part. After a minute through, the tone of the track quickly changes. The piano cuts out and we get some more exciting guitar parts. The drum parts don't come in until later which is also a bit odd for the group. The vocals get a bit more rough as the track continues. On this track, he seems to be asking several thought provoking questions about himself. It seems to have to do with the concept of time and life itself.

Nothing Without You starts right away with the exciting and upbeat guitar parts. Other than that, it just seems like your typical indie rock type song. Compared to the other track, his vocals are a lot more light and playful. We also get a female vocalist on the chorus which is nice for a change. However, the way she is singing, it doesn't really mesh together well with the instrumentation. This track is your average love track where they say this other person is their everything.

The Spirit Of has some playful guitar licks at the beginning with the bouncing of higher and lower notes. Besides the repetitiveness of the instrumentals, the lyrics seem to follow the same pattern since they repeat themselves throughout the track. They usually repeat themselves at least twice before moving on to a new lyric. As the track gets more distorted and crazy as the track progresses at the end, the vocalist also adds more edge to his voice as he repeats 'Under your love.'
 
Only Light is another track that opens up with some exciting and energetic guitar lines, as well as some energizing vocals. This track actually has a unique story about it since it has to do with the lead singers girlfriend. His girlfriend want him to create a track about her, so Dylan explains that this track is like a sci-fi love song. Other than that, it's a pretty fun, but short track that talks about changing the entire world for her.
 
Nara is another quick, two and a half minute track. The track starts off softly with just a single guitar, but ofcourse the instrumentation starts to build up over time. However, Dylan explains that this is one of the quietest Cloud Nothings track that he ever created. It is also a bit slower in pace compared to the other tracks on this album. Judging by the lyrics of this track, it seems to be about someone who lives in solitude, but doesn't seem to mind it.
 
Open Rain definitely brings back the energy and noise to the album. We have exciting drums, especially during the chorus, as well as some guitar parts that bring back some familiar licks. Just like the previous track, we have some interesting input from Dylan on this track. Since he wanted to watch almost every new thing that came to Netflix in December and January, he came across the show Messiah. One of the main characters is basically the inspiration for this track.

Sound Of Alarm has some basic guitar riffs to open up the track. They are minimalistic in nature, but it definitely is catchy and able to hold your attention. Besides the riffing guitars during the chorus, this track has a serious tone compared to the previous track. He talks about making more time for himself and having a positive work ethic/set up. Since he's making a living off of making music, he has to treat it like a nine to five job.

Am I Something has some guitars that drift back and forth at the beginning, but it is much higher in intensity than what we've heard yet. We also has some pretty intense backing vocals during the chorus as well. One strange thing about this track is that the person that made the music video for this track had a different interpretation. While Dylan talks about this song and says it's about being down in the dumps, the person who made the video talks about being in the phase between life and death.

It's Love marks the shortest track on the album, which is just a minute and a half in length. While it is the shortest track on the album, it's nothing short of being a great track. It seems like since it's a short track, they had to jam pack everything in the small time frame. With what seemed to be a quiet track, it quickly opened up with the quick and fast paced strumming at the very beginning. Just wish we had more to it.

Next, we have A Longer Moon. Lyrically, there isn't that much going on, just a few stanzas that come in towards the beginning. Instrumentally, this could be a longer jam piece, just like what Dylan had suggested in the notes. We also have some cool guitar flutters when the synth is about to come in. As a mentioned in the previous sentence, yes, there is an amazing synth part in here which I was surprised to see on this album.

The last and final track on this album is The Room It Was. The album continues to end with some high energy guitars. Dylan explains this track as a pop-type track with the melodic chorus part, but also having some dark parts, especially towards the end of the album. I can sort of see the pop-aesthetic during the chorus. The track and album end with the name of the album, so he keeps repeating, "The shadow I remember."
 
I was pretty excited about this album, especially since it was my first introduction to the band (besides the collaboration with Wavves). However, as each track passed, a lot of these tracks were unmemorable, or hard to remember since a lot of the tracks just sound the same.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: Sound Of Alarm, Am I Something, It's Love, A Longer Moon
 
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