Do Nothing: Zero Dollar Bill EP

My favourite live music experience are during those rare occasions where I become so immersed in the music and the performance, that everything else in the entire world has completely zoned out.

Having seen Do Nothing live at Manchester Jimmy’s last year and being completely sucked into their gig (yes dirty minds, I only said “sucked into“), I’ve been determined to catch more of the Nottingham band and grab some more of that precious space.

While my chance of catching the band live (Chris Bailey vocals, Kasper Sandstrom (guitar) Andrew Harrison (drums) and Charlie Howarth (bass)) has been scuppered by this strangely effortless but potent virus, the Do Nothing EP Zero Dollar Bill has enough energy and noise for me to escape the equivalent of the confines of the spare bedroom a while.

There’s so much to like on this EP; there’s the jerky urgent energy of Fits where that guitar line feels as unhinged, edgy and unsafe as Chris Bailey’s vocal. I think Bailey’s inter-song swap from slightly mad sounding croon, to urgent spoken voice works perfectly.

In terms of lyrics, ironically given my desire for music to wash out that constant stream of consciousness, Do Nothing offer an insistant constant stream of consciousness. The point is that it is someone else’s hopes, anxieties and nags that will occupy my brain space, rather than my own tiresome well worn ones. Fits (“fits in” rather than of the epileptic kind) seems to talk about how your preferences change over time.

It’s difficult to pick out a favourite in the 5 tracks of consistent quality on the Zero Dollar Bill EP but I’m going to pick on the beautifully balanced New Life, where’s there a deliciously cool beat rolling on, and a long and complex narrative. The lyrics are a stream of conscious thought, again sometimes spoken sometimes sung and they flow through. Lebron James was the pre-release from the EP and this has a slightly more upscale beat and vibe and of course, it’s another killer track.

At the Do Nothing gig in Manchester last year, having consumed at least 8 pints of IPA through a long city festival day, I thought it a sound and wise idea to slur my way through a bit of a conversation with Chris who was attempting to pack away and was entirely sober as he had to drive home, and where I tried to convince him that Jean Jaques Burnel and The Stranglers must be an influence (to no avail). This homage to the excellent Do Nothing EP is my version of an apology.

Considering the Zero Dollar Bill EP overall, it’s clear the band are cutting their own path with a nice biting, incisive hard industrial post punk sound, and that constant buzz of communication. It’s very tempting to come up with comparisons and while not suggesting entire soundalikes, I can get the all knowing and totally self aware style and persona of Tom Waites if not his voice (a singer Bailey himself has name checked as an influence). Vocally and musically there is something of the uncompromising hardness of the likes of Mark E Smith, and ha ha yes I’m gonna say it, The Stranglers (check out Jean Jacques Burnel’s first solo LP if you are sceptical). In terms of current bands, those in thrall to the likes of Working Mens Club and The Lounge Society (two Yorkshire Bands I hugely admire) will find much to love in Do Nothing too.

While there are no clear absolute dance floor killers in the 5 tracks, Zero Dollar Bill is a flawless proposition and will help cement Do Nothing as serious contenders for the decade ahead.

Chris R

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