Attack on Memory
Even through tinny computer speakers, Cloud Nothings’ new long-player will sock you right between the ears. The Ohio power trio—and I mean “power” in the most literal sense—zeroes in on the aural pleasure centers of oldsters weaned on late-'80s alternative and post punk with uncanny precision. If Attack on Memory sounds comfortably familiar, it’s because it is comfortably familiar. Some of that might have to do with producer Steve Albini, whose fingerprints are all over seminal records by The Pixies, The Jesus Lizard and Nirvana. While Albini helps give Attack on Memory some of its thud, none of that works if the songs aren’t there. Baby-faced frontman Dylan Baldi knows the impact of buildups and repeated phrasings, and opener “No Future/No Past” is constructed on nothing but that. Cloud Nothings balance longer, noisier passages with hooks throughout the album’s 30 minutes. The psychedelic rumble of “Wasted Days” carries on for nine minutes, while “Stay Useless” flirts with early emo in a tidy 167 seconds. Even with all of its nostalgic tendencies, Attack on Memory is ultimately a product of restless youth. I’m secretly hoping Baldi never grows up.