Stunning debut LP from Cymbals Eat Guitars, long out of print and now available with artwork from the original CD release.
"Wanna wake up wanting to listen to records / But those old feelings elude me / I raise a toast to the rock n' roll ghost," sings Cymbals Eat Guitars frontman Joseph D'Agostino on the hyper-adrenalized "XR," which sounds like a Tonight's the Night outtake recorded at triple speed, with its braying harmonica and spitfire vocal delivery. It's the track that perhaps best captures the spirit of the band's third LP, LOSE, one of coping with abject loss and grief by rediscovering what you've always loved, as difficult as it may be the redemptive power of music.
"Jackson" kicks off the album in prototypical Cymbals fashion all allusions to suburban ennui, drugs, and geography. Yet this is a leaner, more sinister Cymbals. The vocals are crisper, the drums more dynamic, the bass more melodic, all buttressed by a sensational see-saw guitar figure that blossoms into a lacerating yet anthemic rocker.
LOSE is a headlong rush of regret sublimated into a grand catharsis.
At its core, Lenses Alien is a marriage of classic pop forms and ambient haze that makes for a stark, dusky psychedelia. Joseph D’Agostino’s vocals, now with support from keyboardist Brian Hamilton and bassist Matthew Whipple, sit daringly at the forefront, and his lyrics are dark, strange, and affecting as ever. Drummer Matt Miller and Whipple move the songs as a singular, powerful unit while ornate guitars and Hamilton’s celestial organ and chiming pianos whirl across the sonic landscape. Songs like definite darkness and keep me waiting move with the frenetic urgency of romance that seemingly begins and ends all at once, and secret family and wavelengths combine Motown-esque turns with impressionistic visions of lost youth and the struggle to retain it. A relentlessly complex listen, Lenses Alien strikes a balance between the archaic and the inviting and is as much a document of doubts and contradictions as of irreverent joy. It's a varied collection of songs that feels handmade built from the ground up and it's precisely the album Cymbals Eat Guitars was built to make.