The collaboration project of ‘No Life For Me’ between noise rock bands Wavves and Cloud Nothings goes to show that location origin can mean everything. With Wavves heralding from San Diego, California, and Cloud Nothings from Cleaveland, Ohio, both cities seem to capture a different essence of noise-rock entirely. Wavves capture the stoner ideal of a distorted, sun-soaked aesthetic whilst Cloud Nothings tone that mentality down (although not by much) to give a much more melodic feel to the genre. So it isn’t of much surprise that these two bands collaborating has turned out to be a match made in lo-fi garage rock heaven.
Both bands are similar in their musical endeavors, as Nathan Williams (Wavves) and Dylan Baldi (Cloud Nothings) both started out each band as a one-man project. Both blossomed their solo ideas into bands, and both branched out into their unique styles that are instantly recognizable. Which is what makes this pairing all the more successful, as both their styles blend seamlessly together. So seamlessly in fact that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish where Wavves stops and Cloud Nothings begins. That’s the beauty of this record.
The melancholic experimental feel of Cloud Nothing mixed with the much more visceral heavy garage sound of Wavves lends itself to this record, as it adds a new distinct layer to each band that hasn’t been heard before. They’ve managed to enable each other’s band to rise and bounce off one another throughout the duration of this record. This is distinctly heard in the track ‘How’s It Gonna Go’. Both bands adopt the famed quiet/loud/quiet dynamic from the Pixies, but flip it to fit it more towards their sound. Wavves shred their guitars in the verses, whilst Cloud Nothings slow it down to a more melodic feel in the choruses and bridge whilst still maintaining their own signature noise rock sound.
‘No Life For Me’ has such an aesthetic feel to it. Wavves are always your go to California band, but this time it goes from closing your eyes and imagining yourself on a Californian beach to road tripping in the desert from Cloud Nothings ambient ethereal feel. This is definitely felt on the track ‘Come Down’; whether it’s from the more pronounced bass line that opens the track, or the memorable lyrics in the chorus: ‘Sometimes you’ll find / Nothing ever comes down’.
It’s the title track ‘No Life For Me’ that is the most Wavves sounding on the record. The infectious tonal, guttural introduction on guitar gives you an instant recognition that it’s Wavves; but it then merges subtly to melodic again thanks to Cloud Nothings. This track really captures the essence of the collaboration.
The Untitled tracks (‘Untitled I’ and ‘Untitled II’) help establish that this record is a joint effort. It’s not a solo Wavves project, the album opens with one of these tracks to help signify this point. Both of these songs act as the calm before the storm; both adding an experimental edge to the bands that they haven’t explored before.
It’s a wonder why this collaboration hadn’t happened sooner, but now that it’s here we can all bask in it’s lo-fi glory.
Words by Sophie McEvoy