Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory

I have to be honest with you. I keep trying to intellectualize a lot of what Attack on Memory is but in doing so I’ve stripped most of the fun out of hearing a band finally find just what it is they’re about or, barring a strict definition, discover just how fucking exciting music used to be before everyone knew everything and, in so doing, drive a new (albeit familiar) path into our sonic future.

So let me get out of my head here and tell you something about Cloud Nothings.

Cloud Nothings is a band. Cloud Nothings was a man. Dylan Baldi is his name and he’s from Cleveland. Mr. Baldi wrote and recorded shambolic, somewhat saccharine young, fun pop punky songs that shared more than a few aesthetic similarities with the many whirlwind tin can bedroom cassette acts who seem to take GBV’s two-track heritage just a little too seriously.

He started in 2009.

His music was good but far from great like a shy, sober Replacements or an early sleazeless Afghan Whigs. Fine for a 7” but forgettable on record. Actually, late last year, I went so far as to refer to Cloud Nothings as “a band that could use a swift kick in the nuts” and skipped over my chance to see them play at Fun Fun Fun Fest so I could watch grown men leap frog in tights.

This was a mistake.

It’s been just about three months since Austin, Attack on Memory is finally seeing release and at the risk of sounding like a transistor fence-sitter, it kinda kicks all the last living dents out of my college rock loving ass with enough angst left to stomp out the teeth of Cloud Nothing’s brief, rudimentary history.

Okay, that might be a little harsh. I’m sure Mr. Baldi hasn’t turned such a sonic leaf that he’s resorted to curb-stomping his previous efforts but I’ll be goddamned if it doesn’t sound like Cloud Nothings is a totally different band.

Actually, it sounds like they ARE a band. A taut unit who, thanks in no small part (I’m sure) to the engineering genius of Steve Albini, sound gargantuan. From the pained palette-cleansing emergence of “No Future/No Past” into the crushing epic “Wasted Days” straight through the dream Double A Side of “Fall In” b/w “Stay Useless” and into…well it’s the whole fucking record, really.

Attack on Memory builds and shrinks. It highlights lyrical fear and the desperation of a young man learning his place: accepting rejection and the inevitability of vainglorious self-destruction with an earnest rasp that evokes loneliness but never pity. It bears the influence of near-forgotten guitar revolutionaries like Bitch Magnet and The Wipers proudly without sounding derivative or snide. And if it weren’t for the fact that the album (after such a carefully plotted introduction) ends with the abrupt fade of “Cut You” and features an unnecessary (for an eight track album) instrumental I would gladly argue that this record might be the new watershed in rock and roll.

1. No Future/No Past
2. Wasted Days
3. Fall In
4. Stay Useless
5. Separation
6. No Sentiment
7. Our Plans
8. Cut You

Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory, reviewed by Charles on 2012-01-27T12:21:42-08:00 rating 4.3 out of 5

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