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Attack on Memory

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 24, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

In the interval since the 2011 release of Cloud Nothings, Baldi toured widely and put a great deal of focus on his live show. After playing the same sets nightly for months on end, Baldi saw the rigidity of his early work, and he wanted to create arrangements that would allow for more improvisation and variability when played on the road. To accomplish this desired malleability, the entire band decamped to Chicago where the album was recorded with Steve Albini. Insetting out to do so, Baldi and co. have created an album that shows vast growth in a still very young band.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 24, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Carpark Records
  • ASIN: B006HH5Z8W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,316 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'll start this review by being honest and this might speak for a few of you: PitchforkMedia led me to this album by bestowing it their "best new music" tag and their description of the songs and the addition of Steve Albini's engineering caught my interest. So I won't make any front about being there from Dylan Baldi's humble beginnings as a lo-fi bedroom artist since this record is poised to be Cloud Nothing's breakthrough and I can already see some fans getting smug about the new audiences this album will draw from its seemingly unanimous critical appraisal.

I started listening with no bias or previous expectations, though I plan on exploring Baldi's back catalog very soon because of my impression of his abilities as a songwriter. Let me make something clear. Attack is frontloaded by two of its most memorable songs, which isn't to necessarily say the rest don't compare. "No Future/No Past" is a haunting opener, capturing my attention from the first measure of the piano chords, developing into a song driven by mantra-like vocal lines and building into the cathartic release of Baldi's screams. It's evident that Albini's mix benefits the sound of this band, giving the special clarity the chimey guitars need from the commanding emotive quality of his voice. It's with this song that my interest is completely piqued. Next is "Wasted Days", nine minutes played with all the conviction of a hardcore band and also containing the album's most angst-ridden lyrical refrains. The bulk of the song is rhythmic interplay between guitar and drums and doesn't get boring for a second which should speak loudly for a band like Cloud Nothings who for the remainder of the album reveal themselves as a band mainly pulling from the strengths of guitar and vocal hooks.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Cloud Nothings's songwriter and at one time only member, Dylan Baldi has made the claim in interviews that his latest album, Attack on Memory, felt like such a departure from his earlier, lo-fi static-pop sound that he considered recording under an entirely new name. Dylan's right that Attack on Memory marks a shift in style for Cloud Nothings, but he's wrong to claim that this is a complete departure from his first two full length releases. A shadow of doubt and remorse hangs over the album, and while Attack on Memory's darker themes leads to a rearrangement in sonic textures, ultimately Dylan's ear for a catchy riff or a snaking guitar line makes it clear that Attack on Memory was written by the same artist who penned the bouncy "Understand at All."

The opening track, "No Future/No Past," attempts to strike a clear demarcation between Attack on Memory and Dylan's earlier four track bedroom recordings. The song, a slow marching dirge, builds from a whisper to a throat searing scream, and it helps form the atmosphere of the rest of the album. But despite this new approach, Dylan can't help but write some surprisingly catchy tunes. Sure, he's traded in much of his nasally delivery for a scream that seems to start and stop in his trachea, but underneath the self-torment lies a talented songwriter. In fact, a couple of the songs, such as "Fall In" and "Stay Useless," could have easily have slid into one of his earlier albums without causing much disruption.

Attack on Memory relies on two elements to truly differentiate itself from Cloud Nothings's first two full lengths: a full band and Steve Albini's production. The centerpiece of the entire album, the nearly nine-minute long "Wasted Days," could never have been pulled off as a bedroom recording.
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Format: Audio CD
Cloud Nothing's caught my attention with their lo-fi grunge-pop rock sound on songs like "understand at all" and "hey cool kid" and I had a feeling this band would one day soon make a truly special album. Don't get me wrong, I still thoroughly enjoy their S/T release and the "Turning On" album, but I really, really like where they have gone with "Attack on Memory." It's a meshing of so many sounds I love, and though it's early in the year, I predict it will go down as one of my favorite albums of 2012. Every song is good and I have yet to pick my favorites, although the 9-minute track "wasted days" is truly epic. It makes me wish that one day I have the chance to see these guys live.

So if I was to introduce someone who I thought might dig this band, I'd probably start with this latest album. It's definitely the most accessible (and most well-produced) and I think it might prepare a person to give the earlier records more of a chance, which in their own right, are also very good.

-Andrew
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I am so tired of the echo driven, airy, soft voice that has taken over indie rock the past few years. This album definitely rocks. As a fan of classic rock, early 90s grunge and early 2000s indie rock I definitely recommend this album. My favorite is the second track.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Cloud Nothings marry the fuzzy pop sensibility of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart with the unapologetic aggression of a shark on bath salts. If you like Titus Andronicus, Male Bonding, Sonic Youth, and the like, you will surely to dig Attack on Memory. Tracks like Wasted Days showcase Dylan Baldi's stellar songwriting prowess, while on an aesthetic level the record remains powerfully raw and propulsive. Baldi delivers brutally honest lyrics like "I'm stuck in here and I'm tired of everywhere/I'm never gonna learn to be alone," and yet he portrays his profound frustration without coming across as whiny or generic. If you ever wished you could get rowdy to Elliott Smith, this might be the record for you. Ian Cohen from Pitchfork said it best: "Attack on Memory feels above all necessary, a corrective for indie rock making allowances for everything except music that actually rocks." I bought this on an impulse last year, and what a beautiful impulse it was: I have found myself listening to Attack on Memory nonstop for months. A brilliant fusion of art rock and punk rock, this album is well worth the five dollar price tag.
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