Attack on Memory is the new album from Cloud Nothings, a year after their debut and hot on the heels of their first UK tour. It's a coming of age for the group, who are a long way from their origins back in Cleveland.
It's a raucous racket, with strained vocals and deliberately heavy drumming, so prepare yourself for an energetic listening experience. If you like to shut out the world around you with loud indie music, this is the album for you. If the last album you bought was by Beethoven, you should probably steer clear of this one.
The high points of Attack on Memory come not from any one track, but in the general sound of Cloud Nothings as an ensemble. Like many indie bands, there's a level playing field here between the vocals, the guitars, and the drums - and a higher-than-average reliance on cymbal crashes, too.
It makes for a treble-tastic overall sound, and the twang of each guitar string, the smash of the cymbals, and so on can become quite overwhelming if you don't rein it in. However, it's undeniably high-energy music, and sometimes that's exactly what you need as a pick-me-up.
As I said, no individual tracks to pick out, but check the previews with the iTunes player to the right, and make up your own mind - it's definitely worth giving each track a listen, as there's a lot of cohesion to Attack on Memory, but still individuality to be found in each song.
Attack on Memory is cymbal-dominated, drum-heavy guitar-band exertion from start to finish, which might not be to everybody's tastes. It's done pretty well though, to be fair - the band stay tight despite the fast pace and the certain knowledge that it's unlikely they can all hear each other's instruments at all times. From humble origins only a year or so ago, it's genuinely impressive to see how far they've come.
In the winter of 2010-11, 18-year-old Dylan Baldi was living at home, using his parents' basement near Cleveland as a makeshift recording studio. The tools available to him at the time - an improvised recording space and a not-so-great computer - probably go some way towards explaining the lo-fidelity sound that carries through into the new album.
You probably won't want to play Attack on Memory on cheap headphones or laptop speakers, but stick it on a decent hi-fi and tweak the bass and treble, and there's a lot to like. Just don't overdo it, or the attack on your memory will be courtesy of a splitting headache.
Final Score: 69%