Houston Music

The Nothing

It's either self-esteem or self-pity that causes a band to name itself the Nothing. And by virtue of this band's five-song EP, the name is as listless as the material, 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 sonic landscapes with its minimalist material. In effect, the band accentuates only its ability to plod.

What we do get from the group, which consists of Jeremy Johnson (vox, 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, Johnson's raspy voice falls flat throughout, and he often misses the high notes, sort of like the small guy at the carnival who yearns to ring the bell with the hammer but somehow never manages to swing hard enough.

"Pop Song" -- unless the band is attempting irony -- is a turgid exploration of isolation, though it's easy to understand why no one would want to hang around the narrator, and "Fly on the Wall" is eminently squashable. Only the closing track, "Bisexual Cheerleaders," with its affecting beat and jaunty tale of teenage libido run amok, 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. Its aftertaste is nonexistent rather than memorable in either direction on the quality scale.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero