Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains

It’s a rare thing to find good indie these days. I mean, I should probably qualify. Without getting into the ins and outs of what indie may or may not have used to mean, it’s common knowledge that indie is a term that whilst flawed and incredibly general, ensures that anyone you mention it to will know pretty much exactly what sort of music you’re trying to describe. There are bands like The xx and No Age which, aye, one would probably describe in the pub as “Indie”, but they’re not, y’know, indie. Cymbals Eat Guitars are, and they’ve drawn influences which are about as the I word-sounding as you can get.

Spearing what was for me upon first listen the elephant in the room, Broken Social Scene. Whilst not necessarily a completely groundbreaking band, they were/are very good, and are one of the first names I think of when this genre of music pops into my head (As it often does). Opener “…And The Hazy Sea” has it all, grand ceremonial pomp mixed with charming steady eddie guitar twinkles, edgy vocals and occasional post-punk squeals. It’s soon apparent though that CEG are focusing a lot more on the loud part of the loud/quiet dynamic than most indie counterparts, however, as apparent on the dance punk cut of “Some Trees” and the jerky rumble of “Cold Spring”. The grand soundscapes shown on the opening track prevail throughout, and even on the relatively brief “Little North”, CEG show that they can craft indie snippets that threaten to swallow you whole.

The other big influence which will become apparent after a few listens, vocally in particular, is Pavement. More in the wistful, airy sense, not in the “He’s not actually singing a tune there” sense. “Like Blood Does” serves as a particular example. A particularly long cut fromWhy There Are Mountains, it builds for a not insubstantial three and a bit minutes before making its point. Closer (On the UK edition, unlucky for those across the water) “Tunguska” is probably one of the better moments on offer here, and I’m not just saying that. Wonderfully confident sounding and knowingly admitting it’s own influences, it strikes the balance of loud/quiet/grand perfectly, before floating away on a beautiful vocal display.

The downside to this indie binge is that Why There Are Mountains runs a little to closely to being little more than a referencing point for modern musical terminology. It has replay value, yes, but mainly in the sense that you feel you’ve missed something, some bigger point that the band may have been trying to make. The vocals, whilst at times genuinely beautiful, are mainly unintelligible, which, y’know, is a shame. Anyone can play an instrument that you can’t hear.

Largely though, Why There Are Mountains is a solid debut, and a promising start for a young indie band, so long as the next offering is a tad more memorable.

Now I’m off to go and not say a certain “I” word again. I’m pretty sure I just used up my monthly allowance in the last 500 words.

Track Listing:
1. …And The Hazy Sea
2. Some Trees (Merrit Moon)
3. Indiana
4. Cold Spring
5. Share
6. What Dogs See
7. Wind Phoenix (Proper Name)
8. Living North
9. Like Blood Does

Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains, reviewed by Lemon on 2009-11-02T15:55:39-08:00 rating 3.6 out of 5

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