Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Shoegaze is sneaky nowadays. No straightforward My Bloody Valentine wall of sounds today, no sir! Instead it gloms onto other genres, infecting and mutating other sounds. The continuing trend of blackgaze doesn’t seem to be fading out any time soon, with both Deafheaven and Alcest going on strong. A Sunny Day in Glasgow filtered their indie-pop through guitar haze and Pinkshinyultrablast’s version of dance music is just turning Lush’s BPM way the hell up. But Nothing has decided that grunge’s grimy colors need a new filter. Over three albums and a ridiculous amount of touring, the Philadelphia band has cranked out fuzzfest rock, equally devoted to Slowdive and Nirvana. But their newest, Dance on the Blacktop, is exceptionally ‘90s, to an occasionally disconcerting and plagiarizing point. Perhaps that’s due to this record being the most “pop” of the band’s trilogy. “You Wind Me Up” could be a Blink-182 song with a billion extra guitar pedals (the opening even sounding a bit like “All the Small Things”) and the lovely “Blue Line Baby” waltzes in the verses with a near chillwave vibe. The two-chord sludge of “Us/We/are” would make Lit proud, but the verse oddly sounds exactly like Radiohead’s “Creep.” It’s a bewildering choice, especially due to the explosive, decidedly non-mopey chorus. It’s the strangest moment of ‘90s worship, but even more baffling is “Hail on Palace Pier,” which straight up cops the melody from Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love with Someone (You Shouldn’t Have),” but places that peppy pest into the context of ebbing guitar drones. It makes absolutely no sense, with both of these sudden interjections of lifted sounds distracting from any momentum the album may have been building. Those parts aside, Dance on the Blacktop ranges from perfectly serviceable alt-rock to anthemic guitar wails. Anyone who’s seen Nothing live knows this isn’t the band playing to their full potential. It’s true that no set of headphones will quite capture the aural onslaught they can deliver, but the mix still seems tepid in comparison to some of their peers. The slow build of “The Carpenter’s Son” takes nearly eight minutes and goes nowhere. A punchier production layer might have given more energy, more hypnosis to the track, but it instead serves as another hand break on Dance on the Blacktop. A great shoegaze album does need moments of dream pop gorgeousness between the amplifier-destroying roars. It weirdly enough seems to work on the same logic as dubstep at this point. But Nothing’s moments of respite, whether dips in energy or detours into other bands’ music, never let Dance on the Blacktop become whole. The crashing chorus of “Blue Line Baby” is ferocious beauty and the dissonant creep of “Zero Day” is as catchy as it is foreboding, but these songs are best enjoyed individually, without the rest of the album sapping away interest. Dance on the Blacktop closes with the excellently titled “(Hope) Is Just Another Word with a Hole in It,” but the title is the best thing about it. Over six elongated minutes, Nothing goes nowhere and ends the album with a breathy whimper.