Cymbals Eat Guitars
**and1/2 out of *****their most recent LOSE being their best feisty twist on guitar based noise. That album had a dark grief attached to it as the band lost a close friend when writing it. Now a few years later Pretty Years comes out and the title is pretty apt as the band has moved into more pop friendly realms while retaining touches of what made them an interesting to begin with.
The second song "Have A Heart" is an electro-flourished dance tune that might seem out of place with the bands more dense material, but under the surface, scratches and glitches run deep. "Wish" brings in a bit of groove and funk to the mix over raspy vocals/desperate lyrics while "Close" continues this late night dance floor vibe.
The sparse then swelling "Dancing Days" falls in-between genres and feels lost while "4th of July, Philadelphia (Sandy)" is much better, fuzzy and chugging to a huge build that proves to be a highlight on the album. "Beam" brings back the distortion and punk slamming with intensity before "Well" brings back the 80's disco flourishes that the band is focusing on this disk.
Production is elegant and John Congleton and the sweeping sounds synths should be commended and could bring in new listeners. Also on past Cymbals Eat Guitar albums the vocals of front-man John D'Agostino have been crushed behind layers of sound, not so here, his anxiety riddled lyrics are front and center over dance tracks that don't always mesh.
Pretty Years is clearly a transitional album that is shooting for a wide audience and may be pandering just a touch to the masses. It is a move from what made the band must hear for fans of a dying breed of engaging guitar rock noise towards more pop based indie rock.
This is a solid album and a different step for a band we dig. This is not a step we personally enjoy, the pop/synth line isn't really for us, just a matter of taste. Support the band, buy the album and peep some video below: