Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory
Attack on Memory
20-year-old Dylan Baldi left college two years ago to try his hand at making some music. The result of his work, recorded by himself, was last year's pop-heavy self titled debut, Cloud Nothings. For the follow up, Baldi had his touring band in the recording studio with him, creating what he hopes will be an Attack on Memory, erasing what people previously thought him capable of. If nothing else, this new album is certainly a departure from what came before (an idea I feel all of the albums I've reviewed so far this year have struggled with), so much so that at times it is hard to imagine this is the same band.

The opening track, "No Future/No Past" has a Nirvana-esque sound to it, as if it would have made sense on that band's In Utero (and unsurprisingly, as both albums were produced by the legendary Steve Albini), letting what previously would have been a lightning fast dispersal of a hooky chorus build over the length of the song. The benefit of Albini's production expertise, and the advantage of playing with his full band is never more apparent than on the 8-minute "Wasted Days," which lets Baldi's vocals fade for several minutes of sheer musical force. Yet the fuller, more polished feel of the full band is apparent even on tracks that would not have been out of place on Cloud Nothings, like the Strokes-influenced album highlight "Stay Useless," or the chorus-heavy pop of "Fall In."

Attack on Memory may function as the album where Cloud Nothings finds its groove and manages to create its very own sound, somewhere in the pop-punk spectrum, but it never feels like its the sound of a band evolving. Instead, for most of the album's sleek 33 minute run-time, it sounds like they are celebrating being exactly where they want to be. Near the end of "Wasted Days," Baldi howls, "I thought I would be more than this," and with Attack on Memory under his belt, I can't help but wonder what the next step will sound like, while remaining confident that this is not bad at all.

Grade: A-
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