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on March 18, 2012
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. The song's energy depends on multiple guitar dynamics and clear shifts from one movement to the other. This fuller sound is only enhanced by Albini's steel hard production sound. Albini is famous for his hands off approach to producing, allowing the sound of his studio to do all the work for him. Like Bruce Lee, he relies on the "style of no style." And here much of the album feels as if it were recording in an ancient cave, the band surrounded by long forgotten glyphs. And what better environment for Dylan's intonation of easy self-disgust. At times the album recalls Albini's most famous production work, Nirvana's In Utero. And while Dylan doesn't have Cobain's gift for layers of irony and somersaulting wordplay, he takes advantage of Albini's skills to evoke elemental feelings of anger and distrust that can be found in the common 20-year-old American male.
7 helpful votes
8 helpful votes
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on January 2, 2013
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.
5 helpful votes
6 helpful votes
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on July 15, 2017
Love it. One of the best bands in the business. Seek them out.
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on July 18, 2014
Love this album and it transfers well onto vinyl. Every single track is a gem. The track "cut you" serves as an especially nice closer for this album. Honestly this has to be my favorite album of all time. ever. Each track is placed intelligently which is a big part of what i look for in an album. I still remember thinking wtf when I first heard the track "wasted days" because I was so blown away. Having this album on vinyl is an extremely rewarding feeling.
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on January 9, 2013
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.
5 helpful votes
6 helpful votes
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on December 26, 2013
Attack on Memory offers a hard-hitting angsty garage rock, with high quality production reminiscent of Nirvana's heyday. My favorite tracks are Wasted Days and No Sentiment. I normally don't buy music but after queueing up this album on spotify day after day I figured it was worth it to add to my permanent collection. Give this album a listen, you will not regret it. Their back catalog is not quite as solid, but I'm looking forward to hearing more stuff from these guys.
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on July 29, 2016
5 stars
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on February 28, 2013
Probably the best album I have bought in the last 10 years. "Cut You" is a song for the ages. I can't recall an album this good coming out of Cleveland since he Dead Boys.
1 helpful vote
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on August 10, 2015
Absolutely phenomenal album
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on March 24, 2013
These guys aren't messing around any more. After shaking off (mostly) the poppier stuff they seem to have hit their stride. Fans of heavier 90's stuff will be pleased.
1 helpful vote
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