Cloud Nothings
Attack on Memory


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Morley USER (12 Reviews)
January 13th, 2012 | 48 replies | 5,813 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Grunge, Jr.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Everything moves in cycles. Empires rise and fall and are replaced by others that claim to be their successors. Animals evolve with the traits of their forefathers, learning what they learned, sometimes reinventing the wheel. It is only logical that culture, too, would follow this trend.

And what a case in point 2011 was. With cheesy vintage synths, glam parties, slow and sexy r&b jams, and economic desperation heading the way, the 1980's finally got the full cultural recognition it (kind of) deserved in the form off its appropriation by the indie music scene. Always the "closeted decade", it's been consistently treated as the red-headed stepchild in American popular culture. But no more! Eye glitter and clubbing are back in. Or, at least, they were.

If Cloud Nothings' second LP, Attack On Memory, is any indication, the indie scene is about to get its flannel back on and time-warp to the 1990's in 2012. Just listen to Dylan Baldi's voice: as the album's taut eight tracks chug and sprint forward, the music echoing off Steve Albini's recording studio, you can practically hear the ghost of Cobain laughing maniacally between his hoarse breaths.

That isn't to say this is just a band aping the cream of the grunge crop. Far from it, in fact. The Nothings apply modern indie-rock sensibilities to the hook-shout-hook formula and, despite familiar indie-rock instrumentation, they switch the formula up enough to keep the proceedings slick and endlessly listenable. Take "Wasted Days", for instance. There's a verse, a chorus, a verse, a chorus, and then five minutes of teeth-gritting, head-banging, mosh-inducing build until an orgasmic release, with Baldi screaming the line "I thought I would be more than this" as if he has come across his future self's corpse wallowing in a pool of its own quickly drying blood.

The end result is a duel between tragedy and triumph in many of the songs, which acts as the grease on this rock formula's engine. Crashing waves of powerchords bring with them a message of disappointment, of underwhelming realization, and of having to live with a change in one's hopes and dreams.

Which gives rise to the overwhelming themes of the album: uncertainty, self-loathing, and contradiction. Harkening to the historical footnote that the Occupy movement has become, there's an omnipresent 'you' throughout the album, a judge, an authority figure that Baldi sings against. "Fall In" romanticizes resistance against such a force ("nothing left for you to use!"); slaphappy closer "Cut You" pins down such resistance as an unnecessary addiction ("I need something that I can hurt"); other times, there are just no words to describe the twisted, frantic energy engulfing us (the ripper of an instrumental track "Separation").

Regardless of what Cloud Nothings started as, with this muscular and historically conscientious release Baldi has elevated his bedroom sideproject to an honest-to-goodness punk-rock outfit, and it's about damn time. Attack... is just the kind of kick in the proverbial balls the indie scene desperately needs: catchy, frustrated, ready to snap necks, simple enough to appeal the masses but with just enough depth to spin the album one more time.



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user ratings (465)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Geist
January 13th 2012



371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There was a soundcloud stream up, but it's been taken down.

Mods, if you want to take it down, let me know.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Woot!
I needed a place to talk about this! :D

Digging: Sully - Blue

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review btw, but I'd use another analogy than the one in the first paragraph. When I read that, I think of new things replacing the old, instead of the old being recycled.
It could just be me, though...

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. I thought the self-titled was pretty average, but I enjoy this quite a bit.

balcaen
January 13th 2012



3183 Comments


thought this was pretty cool. the kind of band i would jump on to see live but wouldn't listen to much on my own time though. very obviously produced by albini.

DoubtGin
January 13th 2012



6748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very obviously produced by albini.


yea, this basically screams albini

my favourite album of the year so far



Rev
January 13th 2012



9373 Comments


"He played Scrabble on Facebook almost the entire time; I learned some Scrabble tricks. He would alternate between that and writing on his food blog. I don’t even know if he remembers what our album sounds like."

fuckthatnoise
January 13th 2012



1479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah album rules. Great review too, shame that it'll probably be taken down if there's no stream.

Geist
January 13th 2012



371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

clercqie- thanks, I'll try and edit it.

And holy shit a fucking feature. Thanks, guys.

Acanthus
January 13th 2012



9535 Comments


Feature buddy! Yeah!

Digging: Die Sektor - Applied Structure In A Void

Geist
January 13th 2012



371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

* cyber-five *

Also, edited to try and fix the metaphor. I still don't like it. Meh.

Geist
January 13th 2012



371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Favorite song on this is obviously Wasted Days. Holy fuck, is that awesome.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2012



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is pretty okay

Digging: A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Sea When Absent

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 13th 2012



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"no nostalgia, no sentiment, we're over it now" oh thats just too delicious

Polymath
January 13th 2012



3836 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love the vibe this album gives off.

Mewcopa0
January 13th 2012



1798 Comments


these guys have the best music videos

Wildorwhat
January 13th 2012



86 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Didn't really like this at first, after 5 or so listens, love it.

Gmork89
January 13th 2012



5479 Comments


Now this...sounds interesting. Awesome review.

Digging: The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream

Geist
January 13th 2012



371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Electric- your birds with arms picture makes you the best.

And, yes, positively delectable.

foxblood
January 13th 2012



6797 Comments


review has me intrigued, will check it out



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