Cymbals Eat Guitars



by Nolan D. USER (6 Reviews)
April 17th, 2019 | 17 replies

Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I raise a toast to the rock n' roll ghost, but it ain't whiskey; it's Emergen-C!!

As I stood in line to ride the Mean Streak, a source of fond childhood memories, it struck me how decrepit the foundation supporting this aging, wooden roller coaster really was. The posts holding up the track were damp and rotting, the bolts driven into the siding were nearly rusted off, and pools of stagnant, ill-colored water collected in the middle of waiting lines. It was in this moment that “Jackson” by Cymbals Eat Guitars, and all of its theme park imagery, popped into my head.

The Cymbals’ album LOSE resembles a classic coaster, a towering monument on the outside, but exhausted at it’s core. Each track is set in a different scenario of depravity, tracing from frontman Joseph D’Agostino’s teenage experiences sneaking out in "benzo blackouts" to get a taste of the Rock n’ Roll nightlife, to recent stories of having to meet his local drug kingpin in person because “the feds closed the Silk Road." He refuses to spare any of the gory details, using the lyrics as a form of catharsis to move on from depressing, yet prominent, life events in his past.

LOSE’s most powerful moments come from the dark events surrounding D’Agostino’s bitter reminiscence of his closest childhood friends. Centerpiece “Child Bride” spends about 5 seconds sounding whimsical and cute before kicking you in the teeth with the line, “Child Bride, you were my best friend, until your dad slapped the living *** out of you.” The reality of the situation eluded D’Agostino for years until he ran into his friend again a decade later, discovering that he had fallen victim to the same addictions that had torn his family apart.

Musically, LOSE can be most easily categorized as a noise rock album, due to its interwoven textures of guitar feedback, ambient synth pads and sequencers featured throughout, but influences can be found from all across the board, such as psychedelia on the Tame Impala-esque epic “Laramie,” and bluesy Americana in “Child Bride” and “2 Hip Soul.” Each member shows off their own technical prowess, while still understanding the importance of piecing their instrument within the context of the mix. Matt Whipple, on the bass, demonstrates an amazing ear for grooves that add an extra addictive melodic layer, while never hoarding the spotlight.

Nostalgia has a tendency to distort memories to a rosy hue. As a kid, I would fantasize over time spent at Cedar Point, home of the Mean Streak. I imagined it as a special haven of joy and thrills; a home away from home. But when I returned a couple years ago, the magic suddenly wore off, and I remembered the impatience of waiting hours for a seat, the anxiety of searching for my family within a massive crowd of tourists. Today, the memories hurt a little more than usual, as my cousin, who often joined us at Cedar Point, lies in the hospital in critical condition, even as I write this sentence… Nostalgia can be warm and comforting, it can be beautiful and peaceful, but without a sense of reality, it can seriously hold you back from growing past pain. No one knows this like Joseph D'Agostino; LOSE makes it overwhelmingly clear.

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andr13 (4)
"Got no serotonin left/Signed away your right to be forgotten"...

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 17th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

A very personal write-up for an album that demands introspection. Enjoy my words!

Any edits you may notice will be appreciated.

April 17th 2019


I think the opening and closing paragraphs could be worked into the rest of the review a little more smoothly. It kinda just jumps from you being on the coaster into the album suddenly and the metaphor is lost in a little bit of a jarring manner. That said, good review and pos'd. Sending good thoughts your way for you and your cousin.

As for the band and album, I honestly think CEG are one of the most underrated indie acts out there today. I saw them perform a year or two after this album came out to like, six people in Dekalb, IL. I felt bad for them because they played their hearts out despite the fact that no one was there. I think Pretty Years is my favorite album by them, but LOSE is damn close. I think Lifenet is such a banger in addition to the songs you gave the nod too. I hope they release something soon.

April 17th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

Hey, thanks for the feedback! I agree the transitions could be a bit smoother, maybe if I changed up the first sentence of the second paragraph it could be alleviated; the memories of the roller coaster were meant to be book-ends for the meat of the review, I kinda threw the "metaphor to a classic coaster" in response to my proof-reader but I'm not sold on it.

Pretty Years didn't do as much for me; I feel like the instruments don't compliment each other quite as well, and there's a handful of jarring moments that yank me out of the experience. Why There are Mountains, though, is fucking awesome

April 17th 2019


Dope album, dope review

Will they ever top Jackson? Stay tuned

Digging: Trophy Scars - Astral Pariah

April 17th 2019


Album Rating: 3.0

Wow, you know I always thought this band was like a really underwhelming rollercoaster quality-wise so this review already gets a few points from me for the coaster analogy

April 18th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

Album is amazing, glad to see this review

April 18th 2019


April 18th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

There's definitely quality lulls here and there, especially with D'Agostino's voice, but his passion is something I've grown very attached to over the years idk.

And yes Lifenet is an eternal banger.

Hot in my chest, the queeZY risING empTIness

April 18th 2019


Somehow I skipped this when it came out and forgot to ever listen to it despite always enjoying the songs from it that I caught here and there.

Time to give it a listen!

April 18th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

Nice man, at 9 tracks there's no room for filler, so I think you'll find the whole thing stays pretty consistent to the tracks you've noticed you liked in the past! Let me know what ya think after the listen

April 19th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

Nice write-up. I love this album.

May 25th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic write up. POS

January 23rd 2020


Album Rating: 4.0

I listened to so much of this band throughout the last decade, there is something about the texture of their music that is so good

Digging: Amyl and the Sniffers - Comfort To Me

May 1st 2020


Album Rating: 4.5

This that good ish

Digging: James McMurtry - The Horses And The Hounds

Staff Reviewer
November 4th 2020


great album to listen to while frantically refreshing fivethirtyeight. Jackson is a behemoth

Digging: Anne Guthrie - Gyropedie

November 6th 2020


Album Rating: 4.5

Will give that a shot, as that’s been me for the past 48 hours

Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2021


Album Rating: 4.3

got the space sickNEEEESS

Digging: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

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