Beauty from turmoil is quite the cliché phrase in reviews, though in the case of Nothing it is a relevant one. Formed by former Horror Show frontman Dominic Palermo in 2011, built on a childhood love of shoegaze bands and fuelled by a tumultuous life including heartbreak, drug abuse and a stint in jail for attempted murder, their debut album, Guilty Of Everything, was released in 2014. Both critics and fans praised it for its revitalisation of an often played-out sound, reverb heavy distorted guitars and fey vocals, which it achieved with a punishing metallic intensity, a trait one would associate more with cult miserabilists Have A Nice Life or Slowdive. While this made for a compelling listen, it could make the album slightly repetitive. Tired Of Tomorrow is a more varied listen thankfully, an expansion of that same palate of despair with different shades of crushing sorrow. Amongst the reverb and feedback lurks strings and even acoustic guitars.
Tired Of Tomorrow is alternative rock moreso than shoegaze, having more in common with the likes of Turnover or Citizen yet with their dark heart still very much intact. ‘Eaten By Worms’ is perhaps the closest this band has gotten to metal, with its pounding riff, haunting Deftones-esque melodies and a splintered, damaged guitar solo that could have come straight off Radiohead’s The Bends. There are a number of semi-serene songs here, such as acoustic guitar led ‘Everyone Is Happy’ and the chilling piano-driven title track. However there are still moments that keep much of that Guilty Of Everything vibe alive. Opener ‘Fever Queen’ is most similar to the psychedelic wall of noise that characterised their debut while the likes of ‘The Dead Are Dumb’ and ‘Vertigo Flowers’ are shining examples of driving alt-rock. The textures here are displayed in more unique fashions, moments of clean guitars among the distortion, the use of strings and some stinging guitar leads. As a unit the band sound tighter and more in synch overall, with the production on the slightly lo-fi side, yet warm and organic.
With the mournful vocals of Palermo more easily audible this time around, making his lyrics of depression, drug addiction and broken relationships stand out more than they had previously. The dissonance between the harrowing lyrics and the at times dreamy instrumentals creates a sense of unease. While on their debut they were largely buried under the guitars, aiding a sense of hazy escapism, here they are more upfront, both in presentation and lyrical content. This makes for a far more direct and powerful record, with lines such as “Stranded in today/Clawing from the outside/And I’m tired of/Tomorrow on the inside” remaining etched in the brain long after the running time is done.
Many bands often falter with their sophomore record, crumbling under the weight of expectations or unable to capture the magic that made their debut so compelling. Nothing have successfully avoided this, expanding on their sound and pushing it in new directions yet still keeping the darkness and turmoil that makes them stand out. Whether you’re a diehard shoegaze fan, looking for a more unique take on the Turnover/Citizen/Basement sound or just someone who wants to hear something crushingly sad and full of fuzzy guitars, this album is most definitely worth your time.