In Review: Do Nothing - Zero Dollar Bill

Nottingham's post-punk four-piece document modernity and malaise with their debut EP.
Posted: 17 April 2020 Words: Will Lewis

There’s always a danger of labelling another one of the UK’s new alternative bands as ‘post-punk’ but Do Nothing are a band that you need to be very much aware of. Following a string of singles since 2018, the Nottingham four-piece - Chris Bailey, Kasper Sandstrom, Charlie Howarth and Andy Harrison - released their debut EP Zero Dollar Bill last week.

Displaying musical similarities to LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads, the abstract nature of Bailey’s lyrics has gained comparisons to Jarvis Cocker and David Byrne. His wordplay brings forth a lyrical string of thoughts which ambiguously verbalise many modern-day issues in a sharp, satirical manner. Lead single ‘LeBron James’ is not about the NBA star, but addresses online scammers: “The results are in and it looks like you’re getting a big old slice of nothing” emphasises the dangers and realities of internet con-artists.

Bailey’s idiosyncratic lyricism often opens up mini-storylines within his prose, highlighted in ‘New Life’; the track offers a variety of concerns delivered with varying emotions from vulnerability (“please don’t try to stab me while I’m eating”), to the frantic cry of “say something God dammit you’re on TV”. In the midst of society's frenzied concerns over keeping up appearances and staying forever young, Bailey’s frenetic persona continues to offer up that fragility as seen in ‘Contraband’ where he helplessly asks “would you still love me if my hair falls out?”.  

It all comes against a backdrop of punchy basslines, penetrative guitar riffs and distinctive use of the cowbell, in an EP which brings a wavy aspect to the post-punk scene that continues to flourish. Whilst it may not find its place on crowded sing-along dancefloors, the band don’t seem the slightest bit interested. It’s still early days, but if Zero Dollar Bill is an early indicator of what they have in store, Do Nothing could be a name ushered on many lips for the foreseeable future. 

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