Guitarist and lead vocalist Joseph D’Agostino has always forged his own path. Since its formation through a Craigslist ad in 2007, Cymbals Eat Guitars staked its claim with sonic exploration. The Staten Island group obviously draws influence from the realm of punk and indie rock, most notable on its self-released debut “Why There Are Mountains.” But the band’s latest creation, titled “LOSE,” explores and digests the emotions surrounding the death of friend and long-time collaborator Benjamin High.
As D’Agostino stated in an announcement for the upcoming LP, “LOSE is a very apropos title because it refers not only to losing Ben, but also it’s about a sort of nostalgia, a longing for a time when music meant everything to you and your friends, and it seemed like one great rock record could change everyone’s life the way it changed yours.”
LOSE, which was produced by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.), releases Monday, Aug. 25, in Europe via Tough Love Records and stateside Tuesday, Aug. 26, via Barsuk Records.
Listen along via NPR here.
When LOSE instantly reminded me of The Get Up Kids and …Trail Of Dead, I first thought it was because I don’t know many recent rock bands. But as it turns out, exactly that was the band’s frame of reference. So, well done, you – goal set and achieved. But even knowing that, the guitars keep sounding shrill to me, and the singers voice cracks too often. And anyway, if I want to feel nostalgic for that era, I can always put on Something To Write Home About again. In fact, I’ll do that right now and leave this record for a new generation to create new memories to.
Ya win some and you lose some. For me, this album falls somewhere in between. Moments of “oh, yes, this!” quickly supplanted by “oh, this again.” One of my first thoughts was that I would need earplugs for a live show. I love great guitar rock, and this had a lot of great guitar rock in it, but it seemed like it was covering for a lack of something. Based on what D’Agostino had stated about what the album was about, I really wanted to love it, I’m a sap. Instead it kind of made me feel old. I liked it and will absolutely listen to it again but I don’t see it going into heavy rotation.
In an age of shimmery synths and soulful rhythm and blues, this didn’t really feel like a 2014 release. Cymbals Eat Guitars released a pretty straight-forward college rock album, what with power chords and psychedelic vamping and all. On “XR” they even do a solid Titus Andronicus impression. “Place Names” is built on the most interesting aesthetic on the album, but suffers from too much singing early in the track. In all, the album is perfectly palatable but never does much to stand out on its own merits, borrowing more from a common language of post-2000 rock albums than adding anything new.
Jeff has tried to nominate this for his pick for next week, unfortunately, it’s not an album but it is worthy of sharing –