Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Cymbals Eat Guitars' debut album "Why There Are Mountains," begins with a silvery meteor shower, settles into a peaceful, melodious and clear evening skyline and then gets back to its contortions, which bend into the equation all kinds of cosmic roller coasters and a jubilee of lights. It's an album that idles only for so long before giving anyone listening a tumble, some sort of free falling gasp that's conducted with the utmost care and with all necessary safety precautions in place. There are nets below us and the band always catches us with a warm wrap-around bear hug that hangs on us like a giant snowflake, melting into our skin and into our jacket. Lead singer Joseph D'Agostino offers his words with a twinkling shine, although they do take on aliases as he works himself up and they get roughed up a bit into a squeaky brilliance than recalls someone smiling through their frustrations, howling humidly toward the busty moon and its light. "Share," from the record, with its rusting, rustling and fussily distorted guitars, along with joint coos from D'Agostino, bassist Matt Whipple and keyboardist Brian Hamilton (with drummer Matthew Miller picking his time for inclusion), begins by sounding like there may be a good, old-fashioned witch hunt going down, but over the seven dynamic minutes, it becomes an interrogation scene with police officers and D'Agostino whispering, for nearly no one to hear, "We'll tell them this is why we need secrets." Cymbals Eat Guitars material is tattered and gorgeous, furious and then limping because of something untimely that's happened within the narration. It's flaming and then simmering, coasting on slippery feelings and shadows. D'Agostino often shares the delivery of Matthew Caws on "The Proximity Effect," as it has the same tendencies when tempers get hot and excited, meanwhile it woos with its delicate tunefulness when the waters are a bit calmer. "Tunguska," a new song featured in this session, is a shambolic, but streaming piece of velvet that swings and sways and sounds as if it could be an apology or a gift in lieu of a present to someone that's cared for greatly. It has invisible ways of luring us into the mouth of its cave and then we hear the guys letting off their outbursts of steam, bouncing around all the rock walls, just before calming down and giving us the clarity of that silvery and cool evening skyline again - as if we're unconscious, but still sensing everything in the breeze against our cheeks.