Cindy Lee
What's Tonight to Eternity


3.0
good

Review

by User Review By USER (59 Reviews)
February 27th, 2020 | 31 replies


Release Date: 02/14/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cindy Lee tries to have the best of both worlds, to middling results.

Plenty of lo-fi acts that have made the decision to go in a poppier direction, especially recently it seems. While people just a few decades ago would have been less inviting of a move like this, pop experimentation is met with very little resistance these days. In fact, some bands even find not just commercial success, but also critical success that they may not have received before their transition. I’ll fully admit that I’m one of those stubborn few that are skeptical of any band moving into the realm of pop. But in the case of Cindy Lee (Patrick Flegel), I seemed a bit more lenient (at least at first). I guess the reason was because theirs was more of a gradual progression from lo-fi noise rockers to noise pop troupe to hypnagogic/dream pop project. It didn’t feel too out of place.

But with so many artists/bands going this particular route in such a short amount of time, I can’t help but feel like so many of these bands just go this route not to expand their sound, but as a fast-track to coverage by tastemakers and good reviews by music fans. However irrational that idea may be (and make no mistake, I have no basis for thinking this is the case), I can’t help but find traces of that thought process float around in my brain when listening to What's Tonight to Eternity.

For one, it’s easily Cindy Lee’s most pop-forward record to date. The production is cleaner and the instrumentation is tighter on What's Tonight to Eternity, at least compared to past Cindy Lee releases. Which, for some, might be exactly what Flegel needed to pull off this new change in style. But it falls short, constantly sounding too sterile for the music they're trying to make here. Take “One Second to Toe the Line” for example, a strange, Black Keys-esque blues rocker coated in a layer of lo-fi pop gloss. That lo-fi sound may work for their early experimental rock work, but here, it’s extraneous at best. It doesn’t help that almost every song has that gritty filter pasted on top of it. If Cindy Lee intend to become an underground pop outfit, they might have to shed their old identity.

There’s also a fairly big issue when it comes to the ‘pop’ side of Cindy Lee’s new sound, in that they don’t seem to be committed to it. What I mean is, for all the changes What's Tonight to Eternity makes, Cindy Lee never feel comfortable making the switch entirely. That ‘gradual progression’ I talked about earlier may have been more of a detriment than I thought, because for every poppy hook this album has, there seems to be a string of experimental flourishes to accompany it. “I Want You to Suffer,” probably my favorite track on the album, does this in a more noticeable way. The 7-minute long dream pop tune starts off fairly standard but is then interrupted by a wall of noise. On tracks like this especially, Cindy Lee seem to want to keep holding onto the tricks that defined their music in the past.

The sad truth is that Patrick Flegel cannot have it all. At least without it coming off as them not ready to let go of their roots. Which should be a good thing, right? Since when is an artist/band bringing elements of their old sound into their new sound a bad thing? Hell, I myself praise bands that do that all the time. But what separates those from What's Tonight to Eternity is that Cindy Lee’s version of it seems to be less a spectrum of influence and more of a segregated list to check off. Maybe it’s to ease people into this new sound, maybe it’s because they want to keep their trademark lo-fi stylings despite the changes they’ve made. Whatever the reason, What's Tonight to Eternity ends up sounding too divided for its own good.



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user ratings (51)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SandwichBubble
February 27th 2020


12758 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Stream: https://cindylee-w25th.bandcamp.com/album/whats-tonight-to-eternity

Oops, forgot to post this last week.

Happy (late) Valentine’s day.

Pangea
February 27th 2020


6341 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review. i wanted to check the last one but never got around to it somehow. will listen to that one and this one soon

Digging: Charles Mingus - Tijuana Moods

SandwichBubble
February 27th 2020


12758 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Danke

Damn, apparently Cindy Lee isn't that popular here. Only 15 ratings.

TheBarber
February 28th 2020


3958 Comments


This is her best imo. It finally feels like she imploded a full blown record with her own sound coming out of the rubble. There's just something so brutal about the way she disintegrates pop in tracks like Speaking From Above that I ain't forgetting any time soon.

Other than that interesting rev. I kinda get what you mean on the first two paragraphs but I also mostly disagree. To me this movement of noise and pop is quite natural in the sense that noise and lo-fi is at the end of a slow process of normalization where the "edge" and genre separations no longer makes sense to many. Calling it artificial and disengenuous feels to me like projection onto the artists intentions, which can a bit of a hazardous path from our perspective of non-stop music diggers.

parksungjoon
February 28th 2020


30802 Comments


good review mate, pos'd

where might one get started with noise pop or any some such

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

SandwichBubble
February 28th 2020


12758 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"To me this movement of noise and pop is quite natural"

I dunno, I can't help it. It always sounds varying degrees of fake to me when people try to blend them.

Pop is all about structure, noise is all about disorder. Takes a special touch to make the two work properly. Or I'm talking out of my ass and I just don't like this all that much.



"where might one get started with noise pop"

It's a pretty broad umbrella genre, I wouldn't know. Check the band Swirlies.

This sounds a lot more like Ariel Pink-ish pop, if you've ever heard anything by him/his band

Lord(e)Po)))ts
February 28th 2020


66860 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stop pretending you listen to anything other than The Strokes

SandwichBubble
February 28th 2020


12758 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I only listen Rolling Stone and Beatle.

No other band exist.

TheBarber
February 28th 2020


3958 Comments


"where might one get started with noise pop or any some such"

If you're ready to go back in time then Psychocandy by the Jesus & Mary Chain is pretty essential. Basically kickstarted Shoegaze. Other than that you can also check out Black Dresses on the harsh end, Sweet Trip on the soft end, and Xiu Xiu on the freak end.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
February 28th 2020


66860 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hmmm



*the stroke



my b

alamo
February 28th 2020


3829 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lucifer stand is a jam

parksungjoon
February 28th 2020


30802 Comments


ofc i know jmc and sweet trip

gonna check the others thanks for the recs


brainmelter
February 28th 2020


7463 Comments


nice i didn’t know there was new Cindy leeeeeeee

Digging: Violent Dirge - Elapse

SandwichBubble
February 28th 2020


12758 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee for Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, indeeeeeeeeeeeeee(d)

Skoop
March 4th 2020


2184 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd argue this is much less pop oriented than model express. A nice hybrid of sounds.

SteakByrnes
August 19th 2020


23450 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lucifer Stand is really good

Digging: Hail the Sun - New Age Filth

Slex
December 23rd 2020


11150 Comments


This is so damn good

Digging: Origami Angel - Gami Gang

brainmelter
December 23rd 2020


7463 Comments


yea it’s pretty fucking good

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
December 24th 2020


3629 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, this is so great. Heard it way too late.

someone
December 28th 2020


2897 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i have a dysfunctional relationship with this album; it makes me uncomfortable and upset, but then also makes up for that and makes me feel safe and cozy



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