Guilty of Everything (Relapse) is the full-length debut of hard-rockin’, shoegaze quartet Nothing. Co-produced by Jeff Zeigler and the band’s Domenic Palermo and Brandon Setto, the record speaks to us through a skilled use of varying/dynamic instrumental tones, consistently juxtaposing Palermo’s soft, understated vocals with a musical outpouring that lushly pushes to the forefront.
“Hymn to the Pillory” leads in with a simple guitar progression; the accustomed hushed, whispering vocals giving a dreary sense of calm. However, it ushers in the first of many heavy instrumental displays, exploding percussion melding with distorted guitars, until we find Palermo’s airy voice reaching out to save us through the sea of chaos. “Bent Nail” is a quick-hitting, up-tempo surge that towards its conclusion spaciously spreads out, altering the aggressive compositon to a tranquil moment “if you feel like letting go.” Nothing continues to ride this peaceful wave with an undercurrent of familial themes amid bursts of serrated, distorted guitars and precise drumming in “Endlessly.” With a creepy, haze-riddled start, “Somersault” is lead by a shimmering wave of soothing guitar as the vocals assist to shape the song’s tone, before an agitated upturn escalates the intensity. While vocals remain at peace, the guitars flex. Opening the door to “Get Well,” Domenic Palermo leads in with the statement - “It’s easier than this.” The song finds the ideal point where the blending of those half-whispered, confessional vocals with a burning torch of music is both rough around the edges yet not ragged, resulting in a complete realization of force.
Guilty of Everything closes with its title track, a climber that takes its first steps with a circling guitar pattern and soothsaying vocals. However, as the song elevates, there is a walking tandem of guitar/percussion revealing an open cavernous element, before the band unleashes charges of instrumental dynamite, making its final statement on the album so apropos. Guilty of Everything is a record that confronts the gloomy darkness of life head on and comes through the other side in a cathartic state.It exhibits Nothing’s maturation and ability to weather both the calm and the storm, with the historically hard-livin’ group of former hardcore kids finally finding a more comfortable place close to the edge. - Michael Colavita