Monday, March 16, 2009

Cymbals Eat Guitars Get It

By Evan Rytlewski
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With the possible—possible—exception of Modest Mouse's own Lonesome Crowded West, I don't think I've ever heard an album that sounds more like Modest Mouse's This is a Long Drive For Someone to Think About than Cymbals Eat Guitars' self-released debut. Why There Are Mountains evokes Modest Mouse's debut not only in sound—in addition to wayward cellos and the explosions of noise for noise's sake, their singer captures the slithering vocals and feral screams of a young Isaac Brock, who in 1996 was possessed by the spirit of Black Francis—but also in scope, with panoramic, cartography-themed songs that stretch well beyond their natural conclusion. Like Modest Mouse's debut, it's hungry and overreaching.

Modest Mouse isn't the only influence that looms large over the album, which has been stockpiling Internet accolades before Pitchfork coronated it with well-deserved Best New Music tag today. The lecherous rhythms of "Some Trees" and "Cold Spring" were born of the same back alley that inspired The Pixies' "Hey," and many songs build to the bright, marching-band codas of Broken Social Scene's more grandiose numbers. And it almost goes without saying there's a Built to Spill influence. All great modern indie-rock shares at least a little Built to Spill influence—that's as close to a hard-and-fast rule as you'll find in music. Modest Mouse get it. The Shins get it. 764-Hero used to get it. Even Death Cab For Cutie gets it. And Cymbals Eat Guitars really, really, really get it.

A couple more young bands like them, Los Campesinos! and No Age and indie-rock might actually begin to rock again.
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