Attack on Memory
By Al Kaufman
Almost every band for the past five years has made the lead of song for their album, if not their best one, at least one that reaches out and grabs, that pulls the listener in. Dylan Baldi, the man behind Cleveland, Ohio’s Cloud Nothings, does just the opposite. “No Future/No Past” is a long, bass-driven droning number that seems to go on for much longer than its four-and-a-half minutes. But that’s sort of the point. On this Steve Albini-produced sophomore record, Baldi wants you to forget all about the Cloud Nothings more simplistic past. This is a new band with a new sound, even if that sound is Weezer on Quaaludes.
But that sound changes, for the better, on track two. “Wasted Days” gives out more of a garage vibe, until the hypnotic instrumental that ends the song kicks in. Again, unnecessary and overlong, but more bearable here. “Fall In” is a sort of alt-country/punk, like an Uncle Tupelo/Green Day mash-up that somehow works. And by song four, “Stay Useless,” the band has found its straight-ahead garage sound. “No Sentiment” gets a bit Gothy, but the CD ends with “Cut You,” a no-holds barred rocker that the Strokes would be proud to call their own. It is the best song on the album, and also the last. The Cloud Nothings do things backwards here, but for those who put in the effort, the end result is worth the wait.