I recently had a conversation about what is an appropriate timeframe for a band to release a follow up album. I’ll leave the result of that conversation a mystery because in my opinion, not that of the other person who is wrong, it shouldn’t matter how much time it takes; if it’s worth it, time doesn’t matter.
Slowly steaming up to the two year mark since their first release, Cymbals Eat Guitars has finished their sophomore album. Lenses Alien stands as a point to the previously mentioned conversation. Although it wasn’t an immediate follow up, these gents fromNew York City show their excitement and eagerness within each track.
The deeply layered ten tracks create a feeling of looking into a deep room polluted with shadows. The room illuminates with well timed bursts of light to reveal a brilliant image. Lenses Alien doesn’t simply fly out of the gates driving each track down your throat. There is a fantastically developed idea that illuminates each track. The versatile vocals of Joseph D’Agostino carry the emotion masterfully without overwhelming the necessary instrumental presence. Matt Cohen’s erupting guitar riffs accompany Neil Berenholz’s ever present bass definition giving every broken tangent a life of its own. From the opening shred on “Keep Me Waiting” to the subdued slangy strummed “Plainclothes,” the definition of each note is finely crafted and masters their addictive sound. Even while the dark reality of “People putting dirty hypodermic needles between the seat cushions in the movie theatres” or someone killing a state trooper then driving off to his beach house, I’m hooked by the character Lenses Alien. These guys take the morbid and ugly and create personality within reality.
Cymbals Eat Guitars walked into the digital world and set up shop in every corner. The seemingly over-clean production rears its head on every track, but does not detract from the sound as these guys bring the distorted imagery. This is how digital music is supposed to sound. This is not an album that demands attention, it doesn’t need to. You’ll be happy to spend 40 minutes with these guys. If you find yourself in the position to have the conversation of length between albums, this is your “Exhibit A” because this is the album you would have waited another two years for.