Hailing from Staten Island, New York, Cymbals Eat Guitars return to form with this their second album “Lenses Alien”. It is produced by John Agnello, who has also worked on albums by Sonic Youth, The Hold Steady, Kurt Vile & the highly underrated Madrugada. The band’s debut album “Why there are Mountains” was self-released back in 2009.
The band had a bit of a torrid time after their debut was released with their original keyboardist Dan Baer leaving the band through illness & their original bass player Neil Berenholz leaving due to a dislike of touring. They had to re-start, if you like, bringing in Brain Hamilton on keyboards & Matthew Whipple on bass. The surviving members - singer/guitarist Jospeh D’Agostino & drummer Matthew Miller quickly got to grips with their new band mates.“Lenses Alien” is an original sounding album full of different ideas. There are a lot of unusual chord changes especially on the opening track “Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)” (which is actually its proper name). This is a 3-in-1 type song has a mixture of feedback, whispered vocals & an all out loud shouty ending. “Plainclothes” has some really good changes too where it quietens down towards the middle before some more screaming vocals finish things off.
This is not the type of thing I’d usually listen to but I really enjoyed it. There are some nice strummed guitar parts & the drumming is hard-hitting throughout. The band sounds like they are really enjoying themselves. There is even a hint of Beach Boys with the vocals on “Shore Points”.The only down points here is “The Current” which seems to just end prematurely & the rather messy final track “Gary Condit” which doesn’t really come together fully.
Having read in the past that Cymbals Eat Guitars sound similar to Deerhunter & The Antlers but they’re more in line with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart & even a scuzzed up version of “Gish”-era Smashing Pumpkins.All in all a fine second album.