It would likely be fair to say that just two years ago a new album from Adelaide post-hardcore outfit Raccoon City might have seemed like something only diehard fans could dream of. Having first formed over a decade ago, the group quickly found fame on local stages, sharing a couple of independent releases before unveiling their debut full-length, Nightlife, back in 2014.
While Nightlife was itself an accomplished record that came about as the result of years spent honing their craft, this would sadly be one of the last hurrahs for the original iteration of the group. Following a split single with Tired Minds the following year, the group were put on ice for some time, with members going their own way and working on other projects in the ensuing years.
In 2019 however, news came forth that Raccoon City were once again a going concern, with a new lineup announcing plans for the future. Sadly, 2020 soon bared its teeth, and fans were forced to wait until October of last year to receive the reunion they had been waiting anxiously for. More good news soon followed, with the band unveiling “Carnation” as the first single from their forthcoming album.
The resulting record, For Nobody, Nowhere, is the product of a group who have not only found a new focus and strength, but are clearly at the peak of their powers.
From the sombre opening notes of the album, “Nocturnus” almost feels as though it treats listeners to with care, soundtracking what seems like a nostalgic return for the group, before kicking things into top gear with ferocious vocals and blistering instrumentation. Fitting, considering that the song is described as being about shedding one’s skin and learning to love the new person you’ve become. Truly, it’s an indication that we’re listening to a version of Raccoon City who are older, wiser, and ultimately eager to showcase the product of their growth.
However, the record is far from having peaked at the start, with tracks such as “The Abyss”, “Mortality”, “Carnation”, “Menhir”, and “Havoc” serving as highlights. That said, For Nobody, Nowhere can be a difficult album to listen to at times, namely due to the intensity of the subject matter, which touches upon themes of personal relationships, struggles of mental health, accepting the crushing monotony of life, and searching for a way to not only survive, but thrive.
Thankfully, there’s an overwhelming feeling of positivity at play, as if each and every one of the band’s members are there to guide you through – admitting they understand the pain we all feel, and offering a helping hand by way of each of the record’s ten tracks.
Also of note is the presence of the album’s penultimate song, with “Liminality” serving as something of a link between this record and Nightlife, with the band having cited it as something of a “spiritual successor” to “Passage”. Once again underlining the feelings of growth, the tune focuses on coming terms with who one is and who they want to be, fully capturing the overarching theme of the record and bringing both eras of the group full-circle.
While post-hardcore can often be a difficult genre for newcomers to get into, Raccoon City have crafted a record which not only features the accessibility that many artists strive to portray, but also the true commitment to the genre that diehard fans would crave.
At its core though, For Nobody, Nowhere is the product of a group who have found a new strength after some years away, and are ready to share with the world what they’ve learned. They might not have actively set out to make one of the year’s best post-hardcore releases, but they’ve more than succeeded in doing so.
Raccoon City’s For Nobody, Nowhere is officially released today via Dog Knights Records.