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Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory (Carpark) 

Attack on Memory is exciting for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it's the sound of a band finding its ambition. The group's last album was a solid, if unremarkable, affair—brief, propulsive garage rock with a bedroom-pop sensibility. Its guitars were clouds of bees swarming, not out of anger, but to churn out honey.

Suddenly, here's Attack on Memory, and it's like head Nothing Dylan Baldi spent the last year listening to nothing but Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu and Unwound. What's even more of a compliment is that this new album isn't the sound of a band trying to ape a new set of influences. The harder, darker sound comes off organically, and the band still retains its essential DNA; songs like "Fall In" or "Stay Useless" wouldn't sound so out of place on 2011's Cloud Nothings, after all.

But there's this new cinematic spaciousness immediately apparent on album opener "No Future/No Past," in that it clocks in at almost five minutes; nothing on Cloud Nothings lasted much more than three. Now the band is writing songs that slowly crank up in intensity and volume after slinking along, or, as with "Our Plans," songs that orchestrate dramatic shifts in tempo, where the drumming helps to build drama and mood.

Everything is sharper and more deliberate here; could be Steve Albini's work as engineer. Those bees have become hornets.

More by Sean Bottai

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