The Nothing

It's either self-esteem or self-pity that causes a band to name itself The Nothing. And by virtue of this group's five-song EP, the music is as listless as the name, a mostly unmoving selection of forgettable tracks. Taking its cue from Brit-pop acts like Blur and the Verve, The Nothing attempts to create ethereal soundscapes with its minimalist material. In effect, the band only showcases its ability to plod.

What we do get from the band, which consists of Jeremy Johnson (voice, guitar, piano), Michael Swanson (bass, guitar, keys) and Ryan Cano (drums, percussion), are some fluid guitar lines ("Turn Out," "Teenage") and sweet melodies from an uncredited violin player. That's about it. The meandering lyrics and uninspired melodies leave no lasting impressions. In addition, Jones' raspy voice falls flat throughout, and he often misses the high notes, sort of like the wimpy guy at the carnival who yearns to ring the bell with the mallet but somehow never manages to swing hard enough.

"Pop Song" is a turgid exploration of isolation, though it's easy to understand why no one would want to hang around the narrator, while "Fly on the Wall" is eminently squashable. Only the closing track "Bisexual Cheerleaders," with its affecting beat and jaunty tale of teenage libido run amuck, shows what the band might be capable of if it just loosened up (or woke up) a bit. It's the only track with any energy.

Ultimately, sitaroundforhours never even marginally engages the listener. And like watery beer, its aftertaste is nonexistent.