As appealing as lo-fi recordings may be — The earnestness, simplicity, spontaneity, the sense of authenticity — the medium does have its limitations. Often, imagination is needed in order to grasp a track’s full potential. Even the godfather of lo-fi, Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard, would go back to the studio and re-record some of his most famous singles to give them an extra oomph. It’s a lesson Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings have taken to heart. With “Understand at All,” the first single from their forthcoming, self-titled released, Dylan Baldi entered a proper studio and emerged with one of his sharpest statements to date. The pace recalls earlier kinetic pop acts like Superchunk and The Mice, for like Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan, Cloud Nothings’ Dylan Baldi sounds as if he’s man who’s never turned down a doppio. Yet, the chorus, where Baldi breaks into falsetto, and the arrangement which shifts between hectic and spacious, hints he’s spent just as much time admiring more radio-friendly, power pop acts of the ’90s. In the end, this new found clarity may be the very thing which propels Baldi and his band forward for an even bigger 2011.
Cloud Nothings’ upcoming debut for Carpark Records will be out January 25th.