Published Aug 20, 2014On their third album, Staten Island four-piece Cymbals Eat Guitars sound like a band with nothing to prove but everything to say. Containing possibly some of their simplest material recorded, LOSE is a tight, confident and focused release that never feels contrived. If anything, it feels cathartic: addressing his New Jersey youth and the loss of close friend and collaborator Benjamin High, lead singer and guitarist Joseph D'Agostino's lyrics are direct, honest and immediate, a deliberate decision on the part of D'Agostino, who has said it was time for him to "simplify and say something that was truthful to [him]."
While the album is a taut 47 minutes, it's actually the record's longer tracks that pack the most punch, with cuts such as "Place Names," "Laramie" and album closer "2 Hip Soul" staying with you long after you're done listening. Cymbals Eat Guitars have always been good at cramming multiple ideas and styles into a single track, but the confidence with which they've recorded this album finds them avoiding such tendencies and sticking to simple song compositions, even employing classic verse-chorus-verse structure on album highlight "Warning."
The band claimed being more "clear-eyed" in recording the follow-up to 2011's Lenses Alien, which was recorded while cramming everything together in a haze of weed, but retains the help of producer John Agnello, known for his work with Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. The band's new fastidious approach to recording has rewarded them with their most accessible record yet, one that's never overwrought and that wistfully recalls sitting in your friend's garage watching them jam while sneaking booze and cigarettes. At times short and bombastic, at others melodic and sprawling, LOSE has something for everyone yet still retains most of what made Cymbals Eat Guitars great on their last two releases. (Barsuk)