Transient

cloud nothings // attack on memory

by jared silva
02.17.12

“No Future/No Past” is the title of the first track on Cloud Nothing’s third album Attack On Memory, but this album features just the opposite, incorporating past musical tastes into the present day to successfully make the 90s grunge record of the modern era. 

It was only a year ago that lo-fi rockers Cloud Nothings released their last self-titled album, and within that timespan they have matured their overall sound, lyricism, and production to make their tightest record yet. And that’s high praise for just a 20-year-old kid; front man and Cloud Nothings founder Dylan Baldi only finished high school two years ago, creating music in his basement in Westlake, Ohio. The band owes a lot of thanks for their big broad production to Big Black and Shellac guitarist Steve Albini, who has produced some of the most critically acclaimed 80s / 90s alt albums such as Nirvana’s In Utero, Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, and The Jesus Lizard’s Goat. It seems that Albini’s ability to change the band’s bedroom power pop sound takes little effort at this point in his career, and the album reflects this 100%, being one of the most noisy, dirty, and coherent post-hardcore records in recent memory .

One of the biggest highlights of the album (and the band’s career) is “Wasted Days,” a monumental track that lasts almost a third of the length of the whole album, where Baldi growls “I thought I would be more than this” against loud snare snaps, destructive cymbal crashes, and blaring, crunching guitar hooks. A lone monotone two-note guitar halts the song halfway through, only to slowly rise to the top again and burst with such a motley sound of instruments that I can only imagine would make me go deaf at their live show. “Separation” is also in the mix to reinforce my hearing loss, this time as the sole, menacing instrumental track. The slacker theme continues in “Stay Useless” (“I need time to stop moving / I need time to stay useless”) proving that, along with tracks like “Fall In” and “Our Plans”, they still have their power pop charm when creating fun sing-alongs and hook-heavy tunes. Even in the compact length of 33 minutes, Cloud Nothings have never sounded better than they have on Attack On Memory, and in part makes it an early entry into being one of the best albums of 2012. It’s the era clash of all parts 90s grunge, post-hardcore, and lo-fi punk songs with catchy slacker anthems that make this album one not to pass up.

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favorite tracks // “wasted days,” “stay useless,” “separation”

Listen to Attack On Memory now, via Spotify.