Nothing More – Spirits


Overall Score: 7/10
Stand Out Tracks: 8/10
Repeat Listen Value: 7/10
Consistency: 6/10
Pros: When it's good, it's GREAT | Some of Jonny Hawkins' best vocals to date | Increased use of effects generally pays off
Cons: Inconsistent | Some of the experiments don't pay off

Nothing More are a band that generally take their time between albums. Between the creative process, various tours, being nominated for three Grammy’s and a global pandemic, it has been five years since their last album, the fantastic The Stories We Tell Ourselves. What state does 2022 find them in with their new album Spirits?

Never a band to shy away from strong and sometimes controversial subject material, being cooped up at home for stretches thanks to COVID seems to have relit the fire under Nothing More frontman Jonny Hawkins. Opening track and recent single Turn It Up Like (Stand In The Fire) takes aim at everyone from the media to figures of authority (“all my friends, they all got fucked by the government”). It’s full of powerful synths, riffs and a rage that many will identify from the last couple of years.

The use of synths / synth style bass tones and effects has definitely ramped up compared to Nothing More’s previous albums; it has always been an element to their sound but they take a bigger role on Spirits throughout. Another of the album’s singles, Tired Of Winning, benefits from this approach (and also from having a positively huge chorus). They’ve also lost none of their touch when it comes to the big emotional rock songs, You Don’t Know What Love Means seems destined for huge live singalongs in the vein of Let ‘Em Burn or Jenny from past albums.

The second half of the album flip flops all over the place. The Other F Word starts off slow, but pulses to live with a rapid fire bass drop and more of Jonny’s fierce harsh vocals; A perfect example of a listeners’ patience being rewarded. Not quite the same with Face It, which outstays its welcome a bit. Best Times is much closer to home run territory, full of honest sentiment and yearning for experiences with family friends. It’s another pandemic flavoured song (“will we ever get it back?”), and one people will easily relate to, whether they think of covid times or better times past in general.

Deja Vu is a huge curveball in the album; The first two thirds can only be described as low powered ambient / synth pop. It ramps up the power towards the end, but as an experiment, it really, really doesn’t work and may give some listeners unpleasant deja vu when remembering it’s existence. The main riff of Dream With Me could have come straight off the guitar of Mark Tremonti, with an impressive pace kept throughout. The raging solo and thumping bridge sections are another example that Nothing More are mostly at their best on Spirits when their foot is firmly on the accelerator.

The album closing title track Spirits returns to the themes of unsatisfaction (“Something’s in the way, Something has to change”) and mental health (“Silence in the heart, Sickness in the brain”). Musically it builds and builds, culminating in a battering ram of noise alongside screams from Jonny Hawkins. It’s a fitting end to a diverse album.

Spirits is quite a hard album to summarise. As always with Nothing More, there are songs of immense quality to be enjoyed. It is their most experimental album so far, and the experiments don’t always land. It does feel slightly disjointed in places too, which overall makes it a good album, rather than a great one. But there is stil much to enjoy here, and Nothing More should pick up plenty of new fans from Spirits as a result.

Spirits is out now on Better Noise Music.


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