I’ve always pictured this one as a sweeping John Barry score thrown headfirst into a hailstorm of shoegaze reverb. It’s from Philly act Nothing, and it’s called “B&E,” which probably denotes something less majestic and more criminal. But you wouldn’t think it from first (or subsequent) impressions.
There’s a definite bombast and bluster, with layers of scorched guitars glimmering in frenzied feedback, sculpted in sublime grandeur, widescreen and epic, furiously paced and monolithic in melody. It feels like one of those Barry film scores, the type he’d compose for a James Bond adventure through international vistas and exotic locales, just exceptionally noisy and blast-worthy loud.
That said, the vocals are another story, soft and wispy, a translucent breath of whispered harmony, a counterpoint of fresh air. That’s courtesy of frontman and founder Dominic Palermo, who was raised on shoegaze and 4AD acts, yet did a stint in hardcore. He’s an interesting character, having served prison time for aggravated assault and attempted murder, due to a fight that resulted in the stabbing of another. There’s plenty written about that on the web, if you’re interested. And if anything, Nothing seems to be the therapeutic reaction.
“B&E” comes from their debut album “Guilty of Everything,” the title of which might have more meaning than most. Although not quite the same panorama of washed-out fuzz and fury, many of these tracks embrace the beauty in the noise. It’s still heavy and cranked up to eleven. But there’s a smooth serene streak cut right through the center, making these songs infinitely listenable, easy to get lost in its cavernous six-string spectacle.
“B&E” is the first track I heard by Nothing, so for today, that’s the one I’m sticking with. I highly recommend the rest of the album. And don’t let that crazy violent past get in the way of enjoying it. If anything, it lends a surreal quality, and shows how penance and reformation can be directed into sound. Enjoy “B&E” and its hauntingly beautifully, albeit loud, score of cinematic songcraft.
“B&E” from the 2014 album “Guilty of Everything.”
And in a curious twist of demo recordings, Nothing reissued an acoustic version of “B&E,” which I’ve included here. The bits and bones are certainly present, just stripped of the voluminous stacks of guitar-laden scorch and swelter. It lacks that grand scope, exchanged for intimacy instead. But that might be more suitable for some. Check it out and see which you prefer.
The acoustic version of “B&E” from the 2012 album “Downward Years to Come.”