Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

If a record sets out to be flat out lo-fi American college rock, and then it is, surely it has achieved all it’s goals and therefore can’t really be faulted for not being the most adventurous of records, or for not being remotely ground breaking, and so on. Now, we could take a tangent and discuss whether or not there is much place in this world for such music. Music that is potentially out dated and stale before it has even been written.

That argument is, of course, ludicrous. There is clearly a place for exciting guitar music in the world. Just because a band is open about their influences doesn’t reduce their artistic merit, surely? Take ‘Attack on Memory’, the second “full” album from Cloud Nothings. On the face of it, it’s a record that is about 15/20 years too late as it flicks between sounding like early Radiohead (opener ‘No Future/No Past’), Nirvana, and really early Green Day (‘Fall In’). That’s just the opening 3 tracks, of which there are only 8.

The rest of the record continues in a similar vein, and yet whilst it’s perfectly enjoyable it struggles to get beyond that. Sure, the chorus of ‘Stay Useless’ is fantastic, and there’s plenty of energy here, it’s certainly not boring it just lacks any staying power. But again, it’s a record that is so open and honest about it’s influences that you can’t really criticise it for sounding “just like mid-nineties lo-fi American college rock” because it knows it sounds like that, yet it is because of this that it fails to make much of an impact. It struggles to take the genre any further than just echoing the past, there’s very little sense of progression.

Saying that, the band has built on the sound of their first record, the production is clearer and as a result ‘Attack on Memory’ feels like a more well-rounded effort than their self-titled debut. Beyond that though? An enjoyable 30 minutes of guitars and drums that makes for pleasant and easy listening but little else.

By Sean Collison 

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