Aggravated assault and attempted murder are crimes more often associated with black metal than shoegaze,1 yet here we are with Nothing, a band whose creative force, Nicky Palermo, was jailed for two years for such acts. Seems as if he’s done quite a bit of soul-searching following his release too, as his debut album title Guilty of Everything2 succinctly espouses. It’s shoegaze closer to modern-day Ringo Deathstarr and The History of Apple Pie than Lush or Slowdive, or perhaps My Bloody Valentine with modern indie’s edge.
Palermo makes no attempt to shy away from his past; much of Guilty of Everything is suitably cathartic, as if it’s the final step to his four-year long journey to come to terms with his past. He makes no attempt to excuse himself, either. With so many shoegaze bands rehashing the same lyrics about love and death that Shields & Co. did twenty-five years ago,3 the depth to be found in Nothing’s straightforward depiction of post-prison emotional upheaval is a breath of fresh air. Although, it’s probably nothing compared to how Palermo felt in the recording process.
Musically, the album decently holds up. Palermo knows how to write good, catchy songs. It’s only a nine-track album, but there are a couple same-soundy duds that exhaust the appeal of full run-throughs. Not anything bad, just “eh.” Palermo’s falsetto billows over crashing cymbals and tremolo-picked guitars, with especially good examples found on back-to-back standouts “Bent Nail” and “Endlessly.” There’s enough reverb to deafen any room, but studio effects are not ostentatiously utilized. Guilty of Everything is worth a listen, and it’s reflective of a man’s earnest attempts at revising his life for the better.
1. Hymn to the Pillory – (4:40) – ★★★☆☆
2. Dig – (4:02) – ★★☆☆☆
3. Bent Nail – (2:57) – ★★★★★
4. Endlessly – (4:13) – ★★★★☆
5. Somersault – (4:30) – ★★★☆☆
6. Get Well – (4:32) – ★★★☆☆
7. Beat around the Bush – (4:05) – ★★★★☆
8. B&E – (5:18) – ★★★☆☆
9. Guilty of Everything – (4:23) – ★★★★☆
1Although the genres are pretty much the same nowadays.
2With song titles like “Hymn to the Pillory” and “Beat around the Bush,” to boot.
3Looking at you, Ringo Deathstarr.