Part of this emotional release is the band’s commitment to melodicism and concise songwriting, even amid the thrash and rush of their sonics. While no song on Here and Nowhere Else quite reaches the dizzying heights of perfect pop that Attack on Memory’s “Stay Useless” achieved, each contains a potent hook at its core. Every track is tightly and intelligently constructed, awash in chord changes and turns of melody that spark a fundamental emotional reaction, a glimmer of teenage ecstasy, melancholy and rage in roughly equal measure. In particular, singles “I’m Not Part of Me” and “Psychic Trauma” and album tracks “Quieter Today” and the throat-shredding “Give Into Seeing” surge with anthemic, triumphant adrenaline-fueled power. Then, the extended, expansive “Pattern Walks” begins as a tense punk song before dissolving into dissonant washes of guitar noise and remerging triumphantly with layered vocals and rolling drums in the album’s most overwhelming and transcendent moment. At times, John Congleton’s lower-midrange heavy production feels slightly underwhelming compared to the stark, raw abrasion that Steve Albini lent to Attack on Memory, but in general his comparatively hands-off approach works, capturing their sound with a refined professionalism and otherwise staying out of the way and letting the band do its thing, which it does spectacularly.
Here and Nowhere Else is compact and focused at only eight tracks, half of which clock in at under 3.5 minutes, but it is a physically and emotionally exhausting listen, a cathartic rampage of a record that feels utterly necessary. Cloud Nothings are the most vital and attention-worthy rock band working today, and Here and Nowhere Else cements their reputation flawlessly.