If you think Philadelphia's NOTHING sounds more than a bit like MY BLOODY VALENTINE, it's no coincidence. Founding member Domenic Palermo (vocals/guitars) has quite a sordid story to tell, which includes MY BLOODY VALENTINE's "Loveless" album as its hypothetical soundtrack. Prior to forming NOTHING, Palermo haunted the tough streets of Kensington, Philadelphia, at one time running drugs and guns while performing in hardcore acts XO SKELETON and HORROR SHOW. Eventually crime caught up with Palermo, as he served time in prison on an aggravated assault and attempted murder charge following a knife fight. Judging by the cathartic brilliance of NOTHING's debut album "Guilty of Everything", Palermo found introspection which leads to an emotive last grasp at music upon his re-entry into society.
While "Guilty of Everything" is hardly a metal album from the metal-minded Relapse Records, it is a stunning, American punk-minded interpretation of MY BLOODY VALENTINE. "Guilty of Everything" is a stark, ether-filled shoegazing experience based on genuine feelings and angst, the way emo should have been following RITES OF SPRING eons ago. What Domenic Palermo and his NOTHING tribe have accomplished on "Guilty of Everything" is delivering a soul-scarred sound of penance. It's elegant even with its frequent slow processes and distortion yowls; even more so, because NOTHING reaches out to a desperate audience, mutually in need of empathy and acceptance.
Sin comes to bathe in the font of NOTHING's sonic fineries and their breathy, collapsing vocal swells. While much of this album carries a beleaguered feeling of remorse, the contrasting upbeat title track wraps the album with a full sense of closure. As "Guilty of Everything" opens with the frail and soul-torn murmurs of "Hymn to the Pillory", the distortion plugs grow denser on the sullen yet melodic "Dig". With each successive bar of "Dig", the heavy drags are brought to a climax with heaped-on guitar parts that add to its evocative allure.
Forgiveness and atonement is a goal that's strived for with each song leading to the album's benevolent end. The screeching intro to the punk-driven "Bent Nail" briefly holds the listener out of the mire they're soon subjected to and to NOTHING's credit, they pour swooning reverb from their beautiful guitars all over the slower-dealt second half of the song. It's a musical cry for help that's just devastating. Afterwards, the melancholic couplet "Endlessly" and "Somersault" each work to august heights of surround-sound desolation, offering swirling, meditative guitars to feel readily engulfed by. "Somersault" later drowns its spectral vocals with amplified pedal stamps and gut-tearing layers.
"Get Well" picks up the pace again with bitter punk snarls from the guitar section while resuming the whispered narration pushed behind the song's adamant drive, coming off like early JESUS AND MARY CHAIN and even THE RAVEONETTES before the latter attempted to go pop. "Get Well" serves as the go-nuts moment of the album, ridden by guilt, yet still seeking absolution. Again slowing the track down for a touching outpouring of angry riffs and wailing top coatings, Domenic Palermo and NOTHING expressively purge demons carried over from rough circumstances, which makes the misty synths and calculated riff rises of "Beat Around the Bush" a audile form of reparation.
What could've been a carbon copy write-off becomes tribute of the finest measure since "Guilty of Everything" comes from the heart. There are a number of dark pockets to confront within the valves of that heart, but those trying to cope with despair or seek a more righteous path will be stricken to their knees by this album. MY BLOODY VALENTINE from an American point-of-view, NOTHING is remarkable in offering exceptional substance and poignancy, apposite of what their bleak, self-chastising moniker would indicate.