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Feedback Eats Hooks

All the cool new New York bands are from Brooklyn, it seems, but at least one of them is from -- gasp! -- Staten Island: Cymbals Eat Guitars, recently shouted-out by Pitchfork and opening last night for Los Campesinos! at New York's Irving Plaza.

The band is named for a Lou Reed quote in which he said that the Velvet Underground didn't use cymbals because "cymbals eat guitars," but last night, it felt as though the quartet's guitar feedback was eating their lovely, sweet hooks, which are balanced so deftly against the noise-fuzz on their debut album, Why There are Mountains.

They opened with the album's epic lead-off, "...And the Hazy Sea," which swings sharply several times between astounding blasts of sound and quiet, ambling passages. This is the counterpoint that makes the album so good -- a friend said they sounded like a cross between Jesus and Mary Chain and Ben Folds Five -- but it felt off-balance last night, with these adorably dorky lads all but trying to stuff their guitars into the amps. Lead singer Joseph D'Agostino's big, Robert Smith-y wail has more depth and color on the album than it did last night, where, often, it felt hoarse and out of control. Moments where the band's pop hooks came to the fore were few and far between, but when they did -- as in the midsection of "Indiana," a head-bobbing swirl of piano and Beatles-y sing-along chords -- everybody, well, bobbed and smiled.

Turn down your amps, guys, show off your great album and make Staten Island proud.


Previously > Catching Up with Groove Armada

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Noah Michelson