Sound: "Nothing To Wish For (Nothing To Lose)" is the final album to be putout by shoegaze band Air Formation. It generally features some spacey, ambient-like guitar chords with some synths on top of a quiet and simplistic drum and bass combination. This combination ends up being pretty layered throughout the album, but the band does it in a way that does not completely surround and attack the listener. There is a very relaxing and calming vibe all through this album, and I feel that this mainly comes from the drums being less focused on, and the vocal delivery. There are many beautiful sounds to be heard on this record, they are enchanting in a way even.
There is some variation in that the guitar work is sometimes some effect heavy simple strumming, sometimes some very pleasant, clean leads, and other times non-existent. The drums make very nice use of the bigger ride cymbals, with an easy side of the snare drum. This style can be seen quite a bit in post-rock bands like Explosions In The Sky, and it creates an uplifting, soothing vibe. Wrap this all up together in a fine package and you get a very entrancing shoegaze sound which is mystical to hear each and every time.
01. Three Years Pass
02. Stars And Knives
03. Low December Sun
04. Alone At Last
05. Don't Wait 'till Dawn
07. Until Today
08. Like I Hold You
09. Cut through The Night
11. Distant Silhouettes // 8
Lyrics: I had never really put much thought into the lyrics from this band, because of the nature of the music and the way the lyrics are presented. The music itself is the main focus, there are not many singing parts to be found in this album. When they are there, however, they are produced in a low, soothing, and not very intelligible voice. Reading over the lyrics, they are written in a very pessimistic, frustrated manner.
These can be found from a track I became quickly attached to, "Alone At Last":
"These midnight shores, we wished upon, mean nothing to me now
The coast wind blows, I'm all alone. Just like a dream, ain't what it seems, ain't what it seems."
I guess you can get a somewhat lonely and saddening feel from reading the song titles alone, but with just the music, it does not really seem that way. Until you read the lyrics. And then it hits you. Along with the sadness and frustration, there is some regret thrown in there, as sung in the opening part of the title track:
"Don't want to fight the tears, we're growing colder still
I never thought we'd end up anything like this
So much for all the time I spent with you back then
So sad to say there's little point to make things right"
Reading these were a bit of a surprise to me, and it is making me reconsider how I approach the album before I go to listen to it. It makes it seem like a completely different album, so everything is new and exciting now. Now I may not view the singing style as soothing to fit with the music, I may see it now as the singer at his final chance, ready to give up on anything and everything that is being portrayed in the lyrics. // 8
Overall Impression: At first listen, "Nothing To Wish For (Nothing To Lose)" seems like a nice, pleasant, relaxing listen. A lot like when you discover that your opponent in a "Starcraft 2" match is not going to just rush you and the game will involve a lot of laid-back macro play. But when you delve more into the world that this album provides, it gives a new outlook and whole experience when listening to it. The words being sung and the presentation of them make the album seem a whole lot more somber than one would notice on the first listen (or second, or third). Even with this change of heart, it is still a solid album that contributes nicely to the modern shoegaze scene. // 8