Cymbals Eat Guitars, ‘LOSE’ (Barsuk)
New York youngbloods Cymbals Eat Guitars might’ve been overshadowed by glitzy trip-hop headliners Phantogram at Seattle’s Barsuk Records’ 15th-anniversary gala last winter, but their dynamic, charged performance ensured they were not outshined.
Emotions continue to run high on the foursome’s third album “LOSE,” on Barsuk. Though the serpentine song structures of 2011’s progressive rock-styled “Lenses Alien” remain intact, radio-ready material like the soaring, orchestral “Jackson” and brash, breathless punk stomper “XR” meet the listener halfway.
The band doesn’t fully commit to its poppier inclinations, however. The parts you’re more likely to be humming are played, not sung — the cyclical, contemplative upper-register bassline of “Place Names,” for example.
At their most unhinged, frontman Joseph d’Agostino’s vocal contortions verge on overwrought — protestations such as “why does every story end with cut to black?” sounding curiously jaded coming from a mid-twentysomething.
Still, Cymbals’ passion and intent on “LOSE” are palpable, and for those who maintain that nothing beats the sparks that fly when smart, driven musicians get together in a room, it’s a win — if not quite a landslide.
Other new releases
J. Mascis, “Tied to a Star” (Sub Pop)
The New Pornographers , “Brill Bruisers” (Matador)
Rustie, “Green Language” (Warp)