Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Gonna Rule the World… Not Bad

March 2, 2009

Upcoming 2009 album The Few Not Fleeting by Nothing More pulls you in, and it pulls you in fast. It has great continuity over the course of the album; the whole thing is a stunning emotional journey. For the uninitiated, Nothing More plays progressive/alternative rock; their sound is equal parts 30 Seconds to Mars, Coheed & Cambria, Dredg, and Fair To Midland. This San Antonio-based rock band has been around since 2000, and they’ve been busy the whole time, mostly playing across Texas and Louisiana, including performances in the Taste of Chaos tour in 2007 and Warped Tour in 2008. The Few Not Fleeting is their sixth release.

Consistent across the songs on the album are thick, richly blended sounds from guitarist Mark Vollelunga and bassist Daniel Oliver, strong lead vocals by Jonny Hawkins, excellently harmonized backups, and perfectly matched drums  (also by Jonny Hawkins). Interestingly, Jonny transitioned from drummer to the role of lead singer over the past year; a temp drummer fills in at live shows.

Production value on this CD is quite good, especially for an independent band. Despite all this, what I found most striking about the album are the lyrics; they are inspired entirely by things the band has gone through. It lends a striking quality to their performance.

“Gone” is my favorite track on the album. It opens with an ethereal electronic effect, and quickly transitions to Nothing More’s more typical guitar riffs and pounding drums. Over everything else, Jonny sings about the pain of his mother’s death; “I wish I’d never seen cancer/I’d die just to find that answer.” The emotional impact is practically overwhelming.

Rock anthem “Fat Kid” gives the album a helpful mood swing to the positive. Its tongue-in-cheek nature and rebellious nature are great fun, and when the chorus rolls around, you’ve just got to cheer. Lyrics proclaim, “I’m gonna rule the world, steal your girl/Not bad, not bad for a fat kid.” It’s an energetic song, celebrating the triumph of the underdog. Who doesn’t like that? I’ve had this album for a couple weeks now, and every time I hear the song I start singing along. If I’m alone, I might even dance.

“Blue And Gold” and “Love?” present a return to the deep and emotional, and are each an extremely satisfying listen. The first is one of the softest songs on the album, and both feature gorgeous vocal moments with great harmonies. In “Love?” they sing “I’ll sing it ‘til the stars fall down/I’ll sing it ‘til my lungs dry out/I can sing it all night long/But you didn’t listen/When I sing this song.”

I really can’t find fault with this album. There’s no low point, nothing that I didn’t like. Half of the songs I gave four stars in iTunes, which coming from me, is high praise. I own all of Nothing More’s discography, and while the rest of it is good, The Few Not Fleeting is a significant improvement. I’m going to go a step further than giving this my seal of approval. I want to go on the record (no pun intended) stating that I believe this is the album that will see Nothing More getting major recognition, and probably even signing with a big label.

The Few Not Fleeting is being released Saturday, February 21st. If you’re in the central Texas region, be sure to attend the CD release party at Scout Bar in San Antonio. Want to hear some of their stuff now? Check them out at myspace.com/nothingmoremusic or nothingmore.net. The Few Not Fleeting will be available for purchase on iTunes.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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