Sometimes it takes a fairly hard rocking album to refresh an otherwise lethargically afflicted music library. Cleveland, Ohio’s Cloud Nothings returns with his second official full-length effort with Attack on Memory, and right off the bat, a noticeable difference in production and direction from past albums can be heard.
Dylan Baldi’s one-man act as Cloud Nothings has since formed into a full-fledged band, and the release of their new album showcases the band’s unprecedented potential. Studio-produced in Chicago with the help of Steve Albini, Attack on Memory is a sharply refined production that still retains much of its former lo-fi aesthetic and grit, as heard in Baldi’s previous albums.
The album openers, “Not Future / No Past,” and “Wasted Days,” seem a little disjointed in relation to the rest of the album, but each successive listen appropriates that sensation as a derivative embodied in the album’s other six tracks. Album closers “Our Plans” and “Cut You” are the more pop-punk-oriented and hook-driven tracks, and carry the album into a classic Cloud Nothings finish.
It’s quite apparent that Baldi’s take on garage punk had always circulated around a raw, angst-driven delivery, and this album proves to be no different, except that everything has been taken up a notch: higher fidelity, lengthier songs and a more sincere and plaintive demeanor that’s drenched in minor keys, and propelled by bolder guitar and drum work. The result can be described as an emphatic aural assault to the ears, and many Cloud Nothings followers will find that fully satisfying.