Nothing Blues, the sophomore album from Chicago’s Typesetter, finds the band experimenting with the tried and true formula of what many would consider newer “punk rock.”

This isn’t to say the band’s first album, Wild’s End (released in 2014), was formulaic. On the contrary, Wild’s End played out with a sound and structure all its own. Gruff vocals were backed by two-part guitar harmonies with a production quality that was both clear while also maintaining a rough edge.

A casual listen could lead a person to throw them in the heap with many other bands of the time. On a second or third listen, the things that set Typesetter apart would become apparent. With Nothing Blues, those initial parts that set Typesetter apart from the rest of the crowd are now pushed farther to the front. This is a benefit to both Typesetter and the listener.

This new release has ditched the rougher vocals and replaced them with three-part harmonies that give many tracks an anthemic quality. The guitar harmonies are now bolstered by keyboard accompaniment which, sometimes, can come across as a gimmick.

With Typesetter, the keyboard is used tastefully to enhance the songs without being overbearing. The songs on Nothing Blues are given a chance to breath and evolve into their own beasts. The tempo is never pushed and the guitars are never that fuzzed out.

Nothing is hidden on Nothing Blues. From the instruments to the lyrics, everything is laid bare for the listener. Typesetter manages to create a wall of sound that doesn’t collapse on you; instead, it gives you a cool and stable place to rest your forehead against while you work out some life stuff.

Nothing Blues is poppier than their last release but in all the good ways. Released in the heart of fall, this will be a perfect addition to many people’s rainy day playlists. While it probably won’t cure your seasonal depression, it will give you a friend to weather the gloom with.

Standout tracks: “Monogamy 1 (Gliss Happening),” “Real Conversations with Imaginary Friends,” and “Only”

Purchase the album here. 

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