Cymbals Eat Guitars
★★★★ (out of 5 stars)
Time changes all of us – even those running around playing rock & roll for a living. Inspired by the death of frontman Joe D’Agostino’s longtime friend and collaborator, Benjamin High, Lose is the most mature, accessible and ambitious record of Cymbals Eat Guitars’ seven-year career. It’s also clearly their best. Opening track “Jackson” nods directly to devastation and remembrance, while “Warning” and “Place Names” load up on the angular indie experimentalism Cymbals Eat Guitars is famous for. Little differentiates it from the cabal of envelope-pushing New Yorkers treading similar ground, though. I’m a sucker for revved-up anthemic rock, so “XR” was far more my jam, the harmonica-led rager definitely big-upping the punk rock that these guys must have grown up on in suburban New Jersey. But the combined 14 minutes of “Laramie” and “2 Hip Soul” are Lose’s obvious standouts. The joyous sonic journeys combine alt-rock, indie psychedelia and gritty pop to build a thematically strong relationship that’s even more impressive for being separated by the decent if underwhelming “LifeNet.” Splice those two winning twins together and this excellent album would border on the realm of perfection.