Do Nothing – Glueland EP Review

Exact Truth – 2021

Nottingham based post-punk outfit Do Nothing return with the follow up to 2020’s Zero Dollar Bill EP, a release that was laden with abstract lyrics thanks to front-man Chris Bailey’s obscure musings. The new EP takes its name from two ideas, the first being the fact that glue used to be largely produced using horse bones, a horrifying thought on its own. And the other being a synonym for limbo land, somewhere we all seem to be stuck in at the moment. Recorded in Bristol with producer Ali Chant, and in Cardiff with Tom Rees (Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard) last summer, the band took to recording each members part separately rather than the live feel of their debut, allowing for more experimentation in production.

Opening with the dance bass driven title track “Glueland” the band immediately sets a new marker for their sound. With everything in this track feeling slightly more succinct than their previous outings. The drums are tight and driving, the guitar glistens and glides through various funk infused moments and the vocal lines and harmonic rises sway through highly intoxicating melodies. It’s a great progression on the bands sound, whilst still keeping the gritty and almost anthemic sound of previous releases towards the latter half. This tightness is then continued onto the Radiohead worship song “Uber Alles”, through the eerie minor chords and almost math rock styled bass line it gives a new alternative direction to the bands sound. Each melody of guitar, bass and vocals all flowing carelessly on top of each other to create a river of encapsulating sounds. It sounds almost like Arctic Monkeys would sound like if they were interesting.

Bailey’s carefully plucked, not easily understood, yet wonderfully enticing ruminations make a standout return. On “Rolex” he sings of “meeting the Marloboro man” recalling that “He said “Here’s a clue for ya, Jack”, Stuck a finger in my eye”. And on “Glueland” he refers to himself as “Going round in circles like a little baby eel, In a glass of water, all the way to Glueland“. These abstract lyrics help to drive the strange narrative of this EP along and serve as impressionistic views into the workings of his mind. You can get the general gist of what he’s singing about, but it’s best to not look too deep, only he truly understand it as he says.

Unfortunately with all the greatness the first two tracks brought, the last two seem to be trying to live off their legacy too much. Although the riff on “Knives” is catchy enough, it feels as though the band seems a bit tired. Bailey’s vocals are buried in the mix and the bass lines and drum beats that drove the first half of the EP with their intoxicating groove seem to have just run out of fuel and are operating on free trial mode. Then on “Great White Way” the song begins with an atmospheric and swirling soundscape, to slowly add different layers of drums and guitar lines. But over its near 5 minute run time, the song doesn’t offer that much progression to warrant the full length, instead often getting lost in loose jams and understated instrumentals. They may have been trying to lean into a more dreamier side of their sound, but this came at the cost of losing the experimental flair they evoked in the first 3 tracks.

Being only their second EP the band still has plenty of time to flesh out what they truly want their sound to be. Whether they lean towards this more structured and planned out sound of this EP, or infuse it with the raw sound of their debut, only time will tell. One things for sure, we’ll be looking forward to see wherever the band takes us next.

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