Nottingham four piece outift Do Nothing have released their new EP Glueland; a post-punk multilayered and veneered statement that squeezes something freshly melodic out of the genre. Chris Bailey has championed an experimental form of Sprechgesang which slips and sustains in a strangely beautiful way. Charles Howarth’s hypnotic bass hangs in the air, more poised and introspective than ever.
In Glueland, everything floats and then grounds us in waves of mesmeric guitar; it feels as though the band are trying to intentionally dislocate us. There is a sense that Bailey’s murmur is always going somewhere: “something weird going on/ going round in circle,” “I know where I’m going/ I should’ve seen him going.” The speaker is wanting to pursue something, but we are not sure what, or how. The ultimate location is presented to us alongside sharp prods of guitar and pulse of the looped synth in the final line; “Come on down to Glueland.” It feels as though they have created a parallel world, that physically embodies the feelings associated with lockdown (dislocation, confusion, entrapment).
‘Uber Alles’ is a reflective mediation on the appeal of the undecided. Bailey asks, “How come tomorrow’s/ Always shining like a swordfish?” The tempo in the song exerts as much control as the ‘dial’ within lyrics; it imparts its dismal wisdom; “What happens when you get everything you want? What after that?’”The jittery, discordant, soundscapes are powerful, but what use is power (or being ‘Uber Alles’) in Glueland?
In ‘Knives’, the contrast between the upbeat guitar makes the deadpan (and frankly a little unhinged) narrative all the more disorientating. Bailey’s flowing voice almost romanticises the inactivity he is describing; “I don’t think it, if you don’t” and “If I could only have you back/ I’d just watch it all go bad” – the familiar agency of having no control over the direction of your life that Do Nothing translate raises an important question- do humans actually want control over their lives?
The idea is mirrored in ‘Rolex’, where Bailey preaches with honeyed melody; “who wants to move beyond?” The sonorous flow of Kasper Sandstrom’s guitar offers a sense of reassurance, and then jabs at us when we least expect it! The confidence of the sounds in the song feels ironic, it seems to be warning us that words are an inefficient way of communicating experience; it has to be felt, or “spit all back out/ just to drink up again.”
The EP definitely rears its weird head and reveals itself in the last song, ‘Great White Way’; and locates its place within other worlds. Restrained, yet experimental, takes us kind of broadway reality; have we finally arrived at Glueland? This anxiety-laced fantasyland is a place where everyone is literally out to get you, its residents are actors, even the birds “were in on it.” Bailey’s final form is helpless; “I am a worm.” We end the EP by sinking to the bottom of life’s food chain, quite satisfied with the euphonic descent.
Glueland does the job all great music should do- it takes us somewhere else. So, take a trip to Glueland – a place that captures the strange familiarity of a life spent without control. Do Nothing push boundaries both sonically and lyrically to create an ultimate paradox, which holds it’s own space away from typical the post-punk collection.
Find Do Nothing on Bandcamp.