Since they began releasing music in 2009, Staten Island's Cymbals Eat Guitars have gone through pretty drastic changes for each ensuing album. 2009's Why There Are Mountains found a ramshackle band making thrillingly unhinged indie rock, 2011's Lenses Alien saw CEG transition to a more shoegaze-indebted sound, and on the just-announced LOSE, it appears like their consistent inconsistency will persist. Listen to that album's moody first track, "Jackson," above.
The song begins with a noisy buildup that suddenly gives way to a quiet, piano-led strut that finds vocalist / guitarist Joseph D'Agostino singing “You're taking two Klonopin / So you can quit flipping / And face our friends.” These lyrics, along with the rest in "Jackson," are quite a bit darker than those found in most of Cymbals Eat Guitars' songs, and D'Agostino steps up his kiss-off delivery to match. The throat-shredding peaks of his vocal style have always been a highlight of the band's music (I still vividly remember the veins popping out of his neck at an in-store performance at the now-closed Sound Fix Records in Fall 2009), but on "Jackson," he intersperses them with ragged whispers and a soaring falsetto, leading to a versatile performance overall.
In the press release for LOSE, D'Agostino links the change in the band's tone to losing "his best friend and musical collaborator Benjamin High":
"LOSE is a very apropos title because it refers not only to losing Ben, but also it's about a sort of nostalgia, a longing for a time when music meant everything to you and your friends, and it seemed like one great rock record could change everyone's life the way it changed yours. It's about being in mourning for your long-held belief that music could literally change the world. That's the contradiction at the heart of LOSE... You're disillusioned, but somehow you can do nothing else but rail against that feeling mightily and try, once again, to make a record that makes you and everyone else 'wake up wanting to listen to records.'"
LOSE will be released on August 26th via Barsuk Records. Stay tuned for information about a preorder.