Cloud Nothings

Attack On Memory

Written by: TL on 07/06/2012 13:03:22

"Attack On Memory", the second album by Brooklyn-based Cloud Nothings is an album that, ever since its release in January earlier this year, has been whipping up a positive buzz in many a cool corner of the internet, and as such I have of course been intrigued to check it out and see what the hype was all about. On my first handful of spins however, the record didn't do much for me, which pushed it to the back of my list, yet when time came to review it anyway, I got the strange feeling that it still needed more time, causing even further delay to this article.

The reason for this is likely that if you're going to listen to "Attack On Memory" you need to come into it willing to throw out everything you've learned about listening to music produced under the doctrine of efficiency that rules the vicious cutthroat music business of today. Because by opening their album with "No Future/No Past" and "Wasted Days", a pair of bleak tracks of 4½ and barely 9 minutes respectively that periodically break out into lengthy storms of guitar noise, Cloud Nothings signal beyond questioning that they couldn't care less about listeners that are brainwashed to only appreciate the impatient dynamics of snappy modern compositions. On here, time is afforded to hearing the full ring of a crunchy guitar riff, and to fully hypnotise you with a loooong instrumental bridge before finally blowing you up with a song climax, demonstrated excellently by especially "Wasted Days".

And then, like it ain't no thing, the band turns 180 degrees for the two next songs "Fall In" and "Stay Useless", growing bright and extremely catchy refrains out of the dark soundscape they just established, delivering them with all the poppy efficiency one could dream about. Sticking to modern references, it's like you've just been listening to two Sainthood Reps songs and now all of a sudden you're listening to two Yuck songs, yet the truth is that "Attack On Memory" is likely influenced by enough semi-obscure 90's bands to embarrass me for not being able to pick them all out.

Regardless, the dynamic thus established on the first half of the album, once appreciated, only makes you more interested to hear what the band has in store on the remaing half. What they do have in store, is first another surprise in form of the fully instrumental gallop of "Separation", which precedes the closing trio of "No Sentiment", "Our Plans" and "Cut You". These three revisit and expand the dynamic established by the opening four, with Cloud Nothings at one moment staggering into depressive depths that sound almost as threatening as a Warship song, and then suddenly rising to bitter yet memorable refrains.

The really intriguing thing about "Attack On Memory" however, is that when you put these songs and directions together, you get an album that's pretty unique for this day and age, simply because you can hear in it that its parent band have not been obsessed with impressing anybody, with moving so or so many units, or with penning songs that achieve this or that effect live. Rather it sounds like Cloud Nothings have chosen the uncompromising approach of making an album for themselves and for people who like the kind of stuff they like... which is not so unusual as is the fact that the end product sounds like all integrity and no pretense. You may need to invest more in this than in the average calculated productions of today, but if you have a taste for that elusive concept hip people call 'authenticity', there's a treasure trove of it to be found here if you're willing to make the effort.


Download: Stay Useless, Fall In, Wasted Days
For The Fans Of: fuzzy, brooding, timeless indie/emo/punk/post-punk that grows strong hooks out of dark places.

Release Date 24.01.2012

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