Don’t be fooled: although Cloud Nothings’ third album, Attack on Memory, may only feature eight tracks, it is nothing short of colossal. Attack is one of those rare albums that can be played through time after time, each time revealing something new about an album you thought you already knew so well. Although it’s only January, I’m already convinced that this will be one of 2012’s most memorable albums.
Glancing at the album’s cover, you might get the impression that this album encompasses the feelings of fading away, meaninglessness, oblivion, pessimism, and dread. “No Future/No Past,” the album’s opener, certainly covers all of these states, but merely serves as a warm up for the album’s early peak, “Wasted Days.” This song makes an enthralling mess of the states that “No Future/No Past” merely took a stab at. At just under nine minutes long, this song is the length of tracks three through five combined (hence my warning not to be fooled by the album having only eight tracks). Many other artists would not even dare to construct a song this long, but Dylan Baldi, the mastermind behind Cloud Nothings, does it with ease, creating an infinitely listenable song.
The ominous guitars and punk rhythms of the album’s first two tracks continue throughout the album, tearing through highlights such as “Stay Useless,” “No Sentiment,” and “Our Plans.” Of course, the album is not perfect: despite its impeccable rhythmic backbone, Attack on Memory does have a weak track, “Fall In,” which is more reminiscent of a teenage emo jam than of a punk song.
No, this album is not for everyone: its combination of visceral guitars, dissonant, out-of-key vocals, and spastic rhythms may turn away those more accustomed to gentler bands such as Real Estate, Girls, and the Gaslight Anthem. But I’m a huge fan of each of these bands, and I find that Attack on Memory is simply too massive to be ignored. There are no comparisons I can think to draw; why don’t you try finding one yourself?