Review: Cloud Nothings, ‘Attack on Memory’

Cloud Nothings storm back on their third LP Attack on Memory with a renewed sound and musical swagger that belies lead member Dylan Baldi’s sole 20 years of existence. A clear departure from their previous effort’s jangly, sprightly garage punk, the band suffuses their instruments with the heavy soul of Black Sabbath and a lyrical tightness intentionally akin to the seminal punk band the Wipers.

Cloud Nothings, “No Future/No Past”

A dense, depressing tone pervades the album and is evident from the opening track “No Future/No Past.” The lyrics consist of only 11 different words but the repetition of “No Future/ No Past” evokes a pained presence that expresses a despondent attitude toward impermanence. They then follow up with an even greater departure, the sprawling nine-minute masterpiece, “Wasted Days.” The track interrupts their typical punk economy with a novel four minute instrumental piece comprised of a metallic guitar and creeping drum combo that develops and crescendoes before Baldi screams back to consciousness.

Their satisfying forays into melodious instrumental rock is reiterated on “Separation,” a punchy and intense interlude that underscores the lyrical pathos found throughout the album on ironically-titled tracks like “No Sentiment.” An angry but meticulously arranged effort, the song sees Baldi overlay his growling guitar with a series of heated barbs—“Attack on memory/ No easy way out/ No nostalgia/ No sentiment.”

For such a young band to change their sound so dramatically is a bold and often costly move. However, by retaining the catchy noise-punk core that initially ingratiated listeners and then permeating it with a metalesque essence, Attack on Memory reinvents and catapults the Cleveland band’s presence into the forefront of any discerning rock fan’s to-watch list.
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Cloud Nothings, “No Sentiment”
Cloud Nothings, “Stay Useless”