This week we’re shining The Spotlight on albums coming out this fall that we’re excited about.
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien
NYC rockers Cymbals Eat Guitars released their debut album “Why There Are Mountains” to much critical fanfare – it was hailed as “sprawling,” “sweeping,” “epic.” Pitchfork called it a return to the lost art of the indie road trip album. It’s expert synthesis of many classic indie rock signifiers – big guitar rock outs, wordy verses, discordant interludes – makes it a refreshing blast of what could be deemed “classic (indie) rock.”
On their newly released second album, Lenses Alien, Cymbals Eat Guitars deal with the unavoidable issues every successful indie rock group faces after a releasing a successful first album and getting signed to a label: what next? Do they use their newly augmented studio budget to add elements to their sound? Do they try to recapture the low-fi sound of their original recordings? How do you make something new while not disappointing fans of the first album?
Fortunately Cymbals Eat Guitars navigates all these tricky issues with ease, turning out an engaging sophomore effort that walks the fine line between expanding their sound in new directions while retaining the elements that made them great in the first place.
Songs like “Definite Darkness” pack all the indie rock punch of their debut, but other tracks have been blown out into whole new song structures, like the eight and a half minute opener “Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)”. It’s the sound of a band experimenting, flexing their newfound sonic muscle.
Ryan Adams – Ashes and Fire
Prolific alt-country rocker Ryan Adams released his 12th studio album since leaving his old band Whiskeytown. Ashes and Fire shows his settling down and getting comfortable in the role of an aging singer-songwriter. Songs move along at a comfortable pace and Adams’ vocals are front and center as he sorts out his thoughts on romance and melancholy.
Florence & the Machine – Ceremonials
The highly talented vocalist Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine exploded onto the scene last in 2009 with her debut album Lungs. It was a stunningly mature first release from the artists – earning her comparisons to other famous British female singers like Kate Bush and Sinead O’Connor. Songs like “Dog Days Are Over” were pop songs that functioned – much like Kate Bush’s work – on their own terms. Florence is at her best when she veers off course from traditional song structures to follow whatever little idea she has.
It will be exciting to see what where her ideas lead her on her new album Ceremonials.