ALBUM REVIEW: nothing,nowhere. – Trauma Factory

Release Date: February 19th 2021
Label: Fueled By Ramen/DCD2


As expected, ‘Trauma Factory’ sees nothing,nowhere. dive headfirst into the human condition with unflinching honesty. Taking a sonic deviation for his fourth full-length, Joe Mulherin injects his genre blurring soundscape with thicker guitars and post-hardcore influences to elevate the record.

Following up from the spoken word title-track, nothing,nowhere. employs sub heavy bass lines and swimming melodies to push the dark trap of ‘lights (4444)’. Once again, Mulherin splices together atmospheric finger-picking, pop harmonies, and contemporary rap techniques with a sharp precision.

Continuing to refine his style, ‘buck’ bounces alongside snapping beats, taught pre-choruses, and a deceptively simple hook with a playful energy. As with ‘buck’, ‘love and chemistry’ sees Mulherin touch on a more pop-punk sound and experimenting with different vocal inflections to bring a fresh energy to ‘Trauma Factory’.

Not straying too far from the intimate and acoustic driven hip-hop of earlier releases, ‘exile’ delivers sparse piano melodies and tentative finger-picking alongside sub drops and overlapping vocals with ease. Indicative of the record, ‘exile’ and its follow up ‘upside down’ jumps from haunting and stripped melodies towards pop-punk tinged hip-hop in minutes.

Later, we see ‘fake friends’ unleash a strong and infectious chorus. Serving as a turning point for the record, Mulherin sounds stronger with a wall of sound behind him. The same can also be said with ‘death’, filled with industrial tinged beats, distorted vocals, and a stomping breakdown.

Whilst the second half of the record flits between sparse instrumentation and full band explosions, there are some highlights to be found, such as the anthemic chorus of ‘pretend’ and the relentless energy of ‘nightmare’. With the heavier tracks serving as standout moments, ‘Trauma Factory’ would be stronger if it was trimmed a little bit, as closing track ‘barely bleeding’ shows the strength of the new direction.

Moving seamlessly from acoustic guitars and soft melodies towards chugging guitars and pounding drums, ‘barely bleeding’ serves as a natural progression for nothing,nowhere.. Closing on a post-hardcore coda, ‘Trauma Factory’ ventures into somewhat uncharted territory with confidence. Save for a mismatched first half, nothing,nowhere. moves closer towards his contemporaries and, hopefully, a wider audience.