Wednesday, 21 October 2009

REVIEW: Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains
Release Date: 2009
Label: Self released

I whacked on the Cymbals Eat Guitars album Why There Are Mountains this morning, only to be reminded that it's one of this year's sleeper hits. What a wonderful, wonderful noise. They'll be most easily, and not doubt often, compared to earlier Pavement -- but that's just one string to their musical bow.

Indiana, after an intro of amp noise and unintelligible vocals, falls over itself into a toe-tapping, barroom piano-led romp of a track, replete with charming brass and sing-a-long chorus. On the flip side to this What Dogs See is a slow, brooding, post-rock monster that reveals itself slowly through atmospheric guitar loops, bass harp and shimmering vocals. The track finally dissolves into a mess of low-register strings, serving as a segue to what the album's  most radio-friendly hit, Wind Phoenix, the track responsible for those Pavement comparisons.

The seven minutes of Share arguably stand as the album's highlight. It opens with slow, huge, My Bloody Valentine distortion you can wrap yourself in; a warm blanket of fuzz. And then it happens: it peaks. An explosion of proud brass and screaming guitars lifts the whole thing to a triumphant climax. It's like Ágætis Byrjun era Sigur Ros, only really fucking loud, and with more foot-on-monitor wailing guitar solos. And then, as if they hadn't already crammed enough into one track, it happens again. The whole thing drops into a four to the floor, disco hi-hats, indie-rock outro. This is seven minutes of yes.

It's commendable that one band can cram so many ideas and styles onto one record and still retain the coherence that Cymbals Eat Guitars have managed. By stealing from a myriad of genre and eras they've somehow manage to carve a niche all of their own. It's a breath of fresh air to find a band who are so seemingly involved in their own sound that they've not bothered to see what everyone else is doing at the moment.

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You can listen to Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains on Spotify.

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