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The near absence of tape hiss isn’t the only sign of maturity on Cloud Nothings’ recent eponymous album, the Cleveland project’s second release for D.C.’s Carpark Records. On “Been Through,” mastermind Dylan Baldi sings just four lyrics, each of which he repeats almost ad nauseum: “Nothing’s working”; “Do you feel all right? You shouldn’t”; “You’re getting older now”; “I am understanding but I can’t believe what you’ve been through.” The last begs for context, but the first three are satisfyingly downcast and ponderous statements coming from a band that blends power-pop and shit-fi and usually sticks to those sounds’ blissed out concerns. Still most important: the hooks, whose sweetness Baldi offsets with assaultive, major-key skronk. What makes Cloud Nothings a more compelling second record is that this time Baldi wants something, and occasionally he even knows what it is: “I always knew I’d follow you,” he sings on “Should Have. “And now I know that it’s much better.”
Cloud Nothings performs with Eternal Summers and Invisible Hand at 8 p.m. at DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. $10-$12.