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Nothing - The Great Dismal Track By Track - Album Review

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Here's a guide and a track-by-tack review of Nothing - The Great Dismal. Definitely check out this shoegaze record as it is amazing.

@bandofnothing strike again with their latest album The Great Dismal. The fourth full length offering from Nothing takes lessons learned from across the bands extensive careers and side projects. ⁣

Nothing - The Great Dismal Review⁣

One of the best shoegaze records I've heard

This is my favourite record of 2020. I could end the review there but holy shit, that would be an insult to the effort that went into this record. The lengths that the band went through to record this included making their own covid secure bubble with the all powerful producer Will Yip. The Great Dismal is the perfect companion for 2020 as it explores themes of isolation, extinction and human behaviour in the face of 2020s vast wasteland.⁣

It only feels right that I go through this album track by track and pick out why I love each song individually;⁣

A Fabricated Life

The first track on The Great Dismal works as a great opener, it carries on Nothing’s sonic shoegaze sound from records previous such as Tired Of Tomorrow, I especially hear this echoed in the lyrics “What else can I ask for? I've pummeled through my time”. Great dreamy introspectiveness, mellow in tone, practically walking you to the pearly gates as the music swells on the coda of this track, when you reach those heavenly swells you feel relieved and at home. But just wait til you hear what’s on the other side of those gates.⁣

Say Less

I reviewed this when it got released and it still stands to what I said then. “This song gasses me up for the latest album, Nothing have been stepping it up on every album recently and mate, with the way those drums sounded at the start I didn’t know what was coming up, normally in a shoegaze mix you get a lot of soundwalling and can’t usually pick out the different dynamics but everything comes out so clear yet that airy atmosphere is still there and the vocals proper sound sick you know. Everyone gets a chance to shine on this track from bass solos, guitar solos, sick drum fills and more, it makes for such a sick first single.”⁣

April Ha Ha

God this track works so well after Say Less as it carries on this theme of dread that I can only imagine is the guitars sliding up the scale to create a deeper feedback sound as it does but it was a motif on Say Less that carries on here and that motif being repeated on this track connotes that whatever we’re in we’re going deeper into it. Holy hell the bridge of this song, when the guitars turn clean, dashed in a little bit of chorus and perfect instrumentation from the rest of the band with the lyrics that’ll stick in your head “Isn't it strange, Watching people, Try and outrun rain”⁣⁣


Catch A Fade

This track starts a lot cleaner than what we know Nothing, in fact it's probably a stark contrast to most of their music and this record. If I was to add labels to this track I’d probably say it’s a soft grunge track, It’s got a catchy chorus and is just a nice little breather from the engulfing fuzz tones from the rest. The track does get a little heavier as it goes on, with a sweet guitar solo. Top quality.⁣⁣

Famine Asylum

The intro to this has a lovely little lick to it, I can't tell if this is played on the higher notes on the bass or if it’s a guitar muting it’s strings but it set’s up the track perfectly, before heading head first back into that powerful shoegaze madness. The motif that I talked about in Say Less and April Ha Ha shows up here aswell so deeper we go. I love the lyrics in the first verse “Send the bombs, We've had enough of us, Face the facts, Existence hurts existence” This reflects Nothing’s bleak outlook on existence, this could be a critique on us and the way we live such as climate change, over indulging in meat and the more toxic processes that harm the preservation of sustained life on the planet. ⁣

This can also be seen at the end of the song in the chorus ” In the famine asylum, Disordered and delusional, Onward into lights graveyard, To our makers no longer with us” the way I interpret this is is that we’re being set up to die by a system that’s been in perpetual motion for a long time. ⁣

Bernie Sanders

This song is an absolute poem of a song that’s meaning is hard to decipher, in an interview with @mxdwn it’s quoted to be about “being lost in Japan… both figuratively, and literally. While searching relentlessly for an answer, you typically find yourself unearthing deeper meaning and often prompting more questions. By the end of it all you don’t even know if you were ever lost at all or if you were exactly where you were supposed to be the whole time. I really don’t even know what it means anymore”. The tone of the song is wrapped in that dreamy chorus vibed fuzz swelling and the soft singing on this track which sounds angelic due to a natural pitch shift in the vocals.⁣

In Blueberry Memories

This is my favourite track off of the record and I love every moment of it, what really caught my attention on this track was the chorus “Paradise is always somewhere, Paradise is somewhere else, Paradise is always somewhere else, Paradise is somewhere else.” I’m a fan of this simple yet smart repetition, it reminds me of the lyrics “Use Less, We Are, Useless” from Nothings 2016 track Curse Of The Sun. Everything blends so well on this track. ⁣⁣


Blue Mecca

This is a wistful chorus swelling track that’s also quite poetic in its structure like Bernie Sanders. Nothing creates a very underwater soundscape here, swamping you in it’s twanging chorus vibe and airy atmosphere. This song shines in it’s mid section, it’s pretty chill overall, it’s a very slow moving track that builds up towards the track, pretty morose and mellow. Especially fell in love with the lyrics on this track “Yesterday, Is a long way down” the track is a great example of Nothing at their most mellow but solemn. Distinctive in their sound and comfortable with this level of shoegaze swirling effects. ⁣⁣

Just A Story

Instrumentally sounding one of the most grunge-drenched tracks on this record. Probably the heaviest we see Nothing get on one of their studio albums, this has to be factored to the bands other creative projects such as Doyle Martin playing in another fantastic shoegaze band Cloakroom, his influence is seen across this track as the guitar has a similar tone to their album Time Well in some aspects, there’s also Aaron Herd who plays in the hardcore band Jesus Piece who rips up the bass no matter what he’s on. Kyle Kimball plays in Night Sins which is a synth darkwave project, and Kyle and Dominic Palmero both play in Death Of Lovers which is another synth based project, kinda like a darker new order. ⁣⁣


Rambling on but I had to give all those projects a shout just in case you’ve not checked them out. Even though this is probably the heaviest we hear the instrumentals in nothing the vocals remain soft and clean, almost innocent in tone. That contrast really helps build character and Nothing did a pronounced job showcasing that heavier aspect.⁣⁣


Ask The Rust

Similar in tone to the previous track Just A Story, love the tempo changes makes it feel like a fight/ a stagger, the song itself is based on the theme of decay and being lost through / put down as seen through the lyrics “When did you find out you never made it home? Swallow, All of your tomorrows, Gunned down, You never even it.” and “Metal, oxygen, and water, In time anything will fade, Everything decays”⁣⁣


This song acts as an amazing closer, with that guitar motif comes back into play from the tracks like Say Less and Catch A Fade but much more disjointed than it was on those songs, before fading out and ending on a clean swell of notes softly fading out with a last gasp of fuzz.⁣⁣.

Check out Nothing The Great Dismal


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