Review : Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory
SputnikmusicDylan Baldi’s gotta have some set of cajones to sing “no nostalgia, no sentiment/ we’re over it now!” A mission statement like that and a title like Attack On Memory presents the new Cloud Nothings record like an indictment of the very nostalgia-baiting indie rock Baldi was guilty of perpetuating on his band’s summery, eponymous debut. Perhaps the line is a retraction of sorts, but defined by Steve Albini’s noisy production and Baldi’s sneering punk affect, Attack on Memory is decidedly skuzzy, early-nineties gloom--not exactly "modern." Maybe you’re not really nostalgia-baiting if you sound gritty instead of pretty, I guess?
I think it’s more simple than all this; considering Cloud Nothings’ considerable effort towards sounding jaded, the confrontational album title is most likely an extension of their posturing. On a record of what are mostly well-structured, catchy rock songs, Cloud Nothings do quite a bit to make it sound as if they don’t care, giving their songs aggressively maudlin titles like “No Future/No Past,” “No Sentiment,” and “Cut You” and having Baldi sing with a mildly out-of-place rasp. Albini’s buzz and the put-on sense of hopelessness to the whole thing indicate “grit,” but Cloud Nothings lack the substance to really do dark, and instead rely on Baldi’s affected whines of base-level nihilist platitudes to portray disaffection.
This is something of a shame, because, confused tone aside, Attack on Memory is way more fun than it lets on. Cloud Nothings’ sense of maturity may be confused with unbridled angst, but their ear for dirty hooks is undeniable. As nineties-fetishizing goes, one could do worse than to ape the Pixies and Built to Spill with as much aplomb as Cloud Nothings do here; “No Sentiment” even rips the main riff from “Randy Described Eternity,” which would’ve been cool if it hadn’t been in service of the album’s worst song. It’s clear that Cloud Nothings work most comfortably within traditional pop structures; the proggier sections of Attack like the extended instrumental break of “Wasted Days” will probably get the most critical attention for their ambition, but the album’s stronger tracks are songs like “Stay Useless” and “Cut You,” songs that sound like they were tossed out in a couple hours with the writing governed by intuition instead of ingenuity....full text
PlanetillCloud Nothing’s new album Attack On Memory is a collection of distorted mayhem, organized and filed somewhere between punk rock and indie heaven. Noisy, crashing, impassioned screaming and a general venting of frustration are only a few of the strokes on this rugged canvas. They are vocally and instrumentally loud yet remain non-threatening and unpolished.They kick off with “No Future No Past,” a soft piano quickly erupts into a dark, somber melody; heavy, distorted guitars pick up along the way. While the music channels a fraction of the raw energy associated with Radiohead, the singer’s voice recalls the Smashing Pumpkins, leveling between bubble gum and hardcore easily.
Up next is “Wasted Days,” lighter in tone but faster in tempo, with added aggression. It opens with a cool guitar that gives way to some speedy percussion while maintaining a dominant melody by the lead. The vocal work is pretty punk; as the track progresses, the voice escalates, so much so that towards the end of the track the singer is screaming and spitting galore. The appeal lies in the melodic guitar that chimes soundly through it all.
Following is “Fall In,” which flaunts stripped-down ska(ish) undertones. If you love Green Day then chances are you will like this track, either for the fair resemblance in music or the very specific similarity in the singers voices specific to this song. The unexpected female back up vocals lend a soft echo to the edgy tune....full text
MusicianforumsMaturity is a very loosely interpreted term used in reference to music. What exactly makes a band mature? When reading criticism it is notable that maturity tends to be directly proportional to the somberness of the music. When The National released High Violet back in 2010 to shining reviews, writers threw the term 'maturity' a lot, solely because the music was significantly less upbeat than their previous efforts, almost as if the members themselves had grown up (despite most of them being in ther 40's). But when I think of a bands maturation, I think of them as finally finding their sound and defining who they are as musicians, which I think is how the term should be interpreted. In this sense, 20 year old Dylan Baldi's pop-punk outfit Cloud Nothings, hailing from nothing but a knack for catchy pop hooks and some lo-fi recording equipment and evolving into a dark, jam-prone emo powerhouse, has definitely matured in every sense of the term.
Cloud Nothing's self-titled debut, recorded by nobody but Baldi alone, definitely already seemed like a mature release. Baldi definitely knew what he was doing, and sounded like he was content with continuing in the poppy and youthful and almost radio-friendly direction he was already headed. Anthems such as "Should Have" and "All The Time" would sound golden in the ears of the Tom Delogne worshipping teenagers of today. On his sophomore effort, recorded by the legendary Steve Albini, Baldi dropped the themes of young love and other teenage emotion and replaced it with a darker and more emo driven overtone, which is immediately evident by the eerie piano line that opens up the album on "No Future/No Past". The change that Cloud Nothings has went through since their debut is almost shocking, with Baldi chanting "Give up/come to/no/we're through" throughout the track and slowly building up until the track's outro, which features a screaming chorus of the track's title....full text
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