With such an evocative name, first time listeners might think they know what to expect from Staten Island four-piece Cymbals Eat Guitars. Couple this with frontman Joseph D’Agostino’s statements that Lose deals with mourning and disillusionment and things seem very one dimensional. Fortunately preconceptions often prove to be untrue.
Of course, there are moments of reflection, and the album’s tone takes a dark turn in places, as seen on ‘Child Bride’, which sees D’Agostino singing in folk troubadour style “Child bride, you were my best friend, ‘til I saw your dad slap the shit out of you in front of me.” There are, however, just as many triumphant, uplifting moments on Lose to balance the darkness, and this is where the band shines as a whole.
Joining D’Agostino, bassist Matthew Whipple, keyboard player Brian Hamilton and drummer Andrew Dole each have as much sonic input as their frontman, swinging from the straightforward rock of ‘Warning’ to the 80s tinged synth-laden intro to ‘Laramie’, which could easily have come straight from a Prince bootleg thanks to Agostino pushing his voice into falsetto territory.
While the majority of the album includes some element of that decade of smoke machine abuse and action movie montages, it’s the album’s third song, XR that really stands out. Hitting your speakers with a hammer blow from the outset, harmonica, guitar, drums and bass all strike together with punk-like ferocity, D’Agostino’s voice breaking into a raw, throat-grating snarl, a polar opposite to its fragile, wavering tone found on the album’s opener, ‘Jackson’.
As with names and statements, some might find it easy to consider Lose to be an album of many disparate parts, but each of those parts works together to create a more solid whole. With such variation, the journey from beginning to end may not seem to be a straightforward one, but it’s certainly worth taking the time to experience everything that Lose has to offer.