Music Reviews
Cymbals Eat Guitars

Cymbals Eat Guitars

Lenses Alien

Barsuk Records

Cymbals Eat Guitars have opened their newest album, Lenses Alien, with a rambling, psychedelic, eight-and-a-half minute track. Considering the fact that every other song on this album averages around three minutes and thirty seconds, Cymbals Eat Guitars have perhaps decided to give listeners a taste of everything to come on Lenses Alien right up front. One could almost interpret the name “Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)” as a metaphor for the band looking down the sights of their instruments, surveying their entire album with a deadly, judicious eye.

Joseph D’Agostino’s caustic voice cuts through a wall of sound, delivering line after line of honest, intimate lyrics, however sprawling and meandering they may sound. “Friends fuck each other in the guest room/ I feel the ghost of all the parties still happening/ Right on this very spot where I am standing/ Kids are blissing in the spare room light years away,” sings D’Agostino on “Plainclothes.” The guys of Cymbals Eat Guitars are storytellers, each song representing a different chapter in a disjointed novel. This particular story sounds fairly reminiscent of my years in high school – underage drinking, indiscriminate hook-ups by my more promiscuous friends, living in a town we hoped to escape once college started.

If “Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)” seems to be a harbinger of things to come, “Plainclothes” might epitomize what Cymbals Eat Guitars hopes to communicate to its listeners with Lenses Alien. It is a highly personal album that, on the one hand, looks back with warm nostalgia, and on the other, points a critical, often times accusatory, finger at the present.

In the story of “Gary Condit,” D’Agostino sings, “I felt our diners and our movie theatres in poisoned nighttimes/ Intumescent and crawling/ Non-localized awakenings/ Memory’s strange abbreviation.” In my opinion, Lenses Alien is itself a “strange abbreviation” of memories – strange, but beautiful – and certainly a story worth listening to.

Cymbals Eat Guitars:

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