Sound — 7
"Attack On Memory" is the third album by Cloud Nothings, previously a one-man project by singer/guitarist Dylan Baldi. Unlike past releases this record is a Band effort as Baldi is joined by other musicians for a more conventional four man set-up in the studio. Comparisons have been made to Nirvana on his album, due largely in part to the involvement of "In Utero" recorder Steve Albini and the darker feel of the lyrics and music. I could agree with this for the first two songs, the lurching "No Future/No Past" and the brilliant, almost nine-minute barrage of "Wasted Days" which combine to make one of the most exiting openings to an album in recent years. Further songs however recall the pop catchiness from Cloud Nothings earlier material showing that the band can keep a sense of an individual sound despite all the change.
Lyrics — 6
Baldi's voice isn't the strongest but he manages at points to make it work, especially when he really strains his delivery in a ferocious way. Not everyone is a fan of that kind of thing but I think it really matches the theme of desperation on the album. Talking thematically the album deals with issues of the past: relationships, missed opportunities, wasted time and plans for the future. At times the lyrics and some of the choruses really soar, and show a sense of fury to match the distortion and driving rhythms of the music. At other points the lyrics and melodies can be a bit forgettable, especially at the albums back-end, but I wouldn't say any of it is particularly bad in any way.
Overall Impression — 7
If you're one of those people who complains that there's not much great rock music around these days I'd recommend this album to you and see if it changes your mind. "Attack On Memory" manages to be pretty exciting record which synthesises a heavier, grungier sound with Baldi's hooks and lyrics. Some people may think that at 8 songs (including one instrumental) the album is a bit lacking, I personally had no problem with this; it's sometimes better to have a concise statement than an overlong one that tires the listener. In all honesty I think I still prefer last year's self-titled record for it's constant hooks and fun feel, "Attack On Memory" still manages to be a great record though and a sign of good (if different) things to come from Baldi & co.