Sunday, 19 February 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #66 - Cloud Nothings, "Attack on Memory"

Bring me the production talents of Steve Albini!

I've heard some Cloud Nothings before, played them in my dormant podcast series, Insidious Junkbox. But I'm pretty sure they weren't as Albini as this before. I seem to remember a cloudier version of guitars. Now here come the thunder! A real rain is going to wash the bubblegum off the streets.

There's the epic distance between instruments that points out the Rapeman, the shredding of vocal cords against the big, blank indifference of life. He does make music for the little guy, don't he? Is there a mutual attraction between him and bands like this? Or does he drag out their inner Steve?

The cover of the album is like an attack on memory itself, an out of focus black and white picture of a harbour wall and lighthouse. The kind of image you imagine popping up in the flailing mind of a dying person, while their brain looks for any information that could help them survive.

The opener "No Future/No Past" has a bit of The Exorcist in its back pocket, a grunge malevolence and a noise like the tube coming to a station. Baldi leaves pieces of his throat on the studio wallpaper as he urges us to dwell nihilistically in the moment. "Wasted Days" does not give a flying fuck, fucks flying about it like monkeys in a convent. Very Nirvana,  and all disappointed with himself at the age of twenty - "I thought I would be more than this" - before getting into some sparse heaviosity.

"Fall In" is weaker, though it does wail in around the middle. "Stay Useless" should be anthemic going by the title, but it too moves itself nearer to Green Day than might seem wise. "Separation" comes in at more angles, most of them jangling and some jaunty.

This is very much a manifestal album (so I make up new words, so ensueify me!) with "No Sentiment" barking out "no nostalgia" and "Our Plans" pithily spitting "No one knows our plans for us/We won't last long" over a growling, broody backscape. The guitar gets oddly airbrushed into the distance of the latter, an attacked memory.

"Cut You" is a neatly teenage jealous rage, where everything seems at stake - but nothing at the same time. I'm patronising. I'm sorry. It's a weakness of the bearded.

Rating: Pick The Albini out of That, Son

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