There's good news and bad news about New York quartet Cymbals Eat Guitars and their self-released debut. The good news is that Why There Are Mountains is polished and offers some strong songwriting while still leaving the band enough room to grow into something better.
The young outfit's exuberance comes through everywhere, whether in the fanfare that begins the album opener, "And the Hazy Sea," or in the moment when the guitars are unleashed on "Wind Phoenix." This isn't a particularly original outfit: lead vocalist Joseph D'Agostino sounds like some alternate-universe version of an Isaac Brock who's got his shit together. The sprawling, tempo-shifting arrangements are reminiscent of Built To Spill ("Cold Spring" could be straight off Perfect from Now On), and in their slower, quieter times they resemble the majesty of fine vintage Sunny Day Real Estate. There are worse sources to steal from, of course, so it's tough to complain.
The bad news? These guys are so young, they weren't even in middle school when their more salient influences were doing their best work, so they probably think of the late-'90s-derived stuff as "retro." And that just makes me feel old.
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS + HALLELUJAH THE HILLS + MAGIC MAGIC + YOU CAN BE A WESLEY | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | May 22 @ 9 pm | 617.864.EAST or www.mideastclub.com
: CD Reviews
, Isaac Brock, Built To Spill, Sunny Day Real Estate, More