Album Review: Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains

By on Saturday, 24th October 2009 at 2:00 pm

Cymbals Eat Guitars (cover)Eclectic” is an overused adjective in music journo land, but I can’t help but use it to describe the music of Cymbals Eat Guitars, a quartet from New York City. The band is comprised of singer/guitarist Joseph D’Agostino (who goes by ‘Joseph Ferocious’), bassist Matt Whipple, keyboardist Brian Hamilton, and drummer Matthew Miller. The band is releasing their debut album, ‘Why There Are Mountains’, in the UK on 26 October through Memphis Industries.

The album begins with ‘…And the Hazy Sea’, an epic clocking in at over 6 minutes. I call it an epic because it has distinct parts to it, like a Wagner opera. This is just not done in popular music…or is it? What follows is exactly the opposite, a 4-second song called ‘Some Trees (Merrit Moon)’ that left me confused. Luckily, ‘Indiana’ comes on next and is a triumph: guitar feedback starts the proceedings, then Hamilton’s keys jangle like all good ragtime piano should, joining symbiotically with Ferocious’s vocals. But lest you think this is all there is to the song, it then morphs into this playful song that you just know will be short-listed as one of the happy musical interludes used in next season’s ‘American Idol’. (Groan.) Then the song explodes. Audibly. I guess the band is into sonic theatrics. ‘Wind Phoenix’ has a similarly jaunty feel, but without concluding combustion.

What I find most intriguing about Cymbal Eat Guitars’s songs is that some of them start out innocuously – safe, like something you might find on any pop or folk album. But then they turn into all-out rockers. Or you find the song has become a dreamy, Pink Floyd-like affair. You know how you can listen to some albums and say to yourself, “all the songs sound exactly the same. Boring!” This is definitely not one of those albums.

Ferocious’s voice can be shouty at times on those aforementioned rockers, but you can’t help but wonder that when the day comes that they get that treasured major label deal (and you know they will get one), the rawness of the vocals will be ironed and flattened as we’ve seen with so many other bands that have come before. So if you’re the type who enjoys bands when they’re at their freshest, raw state, check out these guys. Now.

So what’s next up for Cymbals Eat Guitars? They were personally chosen by Wayne Coyne to open for the Flaming Lips‘s 2 nights at London’s Troxy on 10-11 November. These dates kick off the band’s first-ever tour through Ireland and Britain. Not bad for four indie kids from New York who just got going in 2006. I enjoyed the band’s performance as they opened for fellow New Yorkers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart last month at Washington’s Black Cat. From what I hear, their music went down extremely well at shows in July at London’s ICA and Brixton’s Windmill, so if you like what you hear on their MySpace, catch them on tour in the UK and Ireland next month before they head out to conquer the Continent.

Tuesday 10th November 2009 – London, Troxy (supporting the Flaming Lips)
Wednesday 11th November 2009 – London, Troxy (supporting the Flaming Lips)
Thursday 12th November 2009 – London, The Lexington
Saturday 14th November 2009 – Dublin, Crawdaddy
Sunday 15th November 2009 – Belfast, Auntie Annie’s
Monday 16th November 2009 – Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete’s
Tuesday 17th November 2009 – Manchester, Night & Day
Wednesday 18th November 2009 – Birmingham, Academy 3

‘Why There Are Mountains’, Cymbals Eat Guitars’s debut album, will be released in the UK on 26 October through Memphis Industries.

After the cut: more photos from the Cymbals Eat Guitars’s opening slot for the Pains at Being Pure at Heart at Washington DC’s Black Cat on 30th September 2009.






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[…] Eat Guitars’s debut album, ‘Why There Are Mountains’ (previously reviewed here on TGTF) is available now from Memphis Industries. AKPC_IDS += "11041,"; Tags: 2010, bristol, […]

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