Cymbals Eat Guitars, though a fairly young band, might be cursed a bit by their own consistent quality. Lose is the Staten Island natives’ third album, and it’ll likely be their third album to garner critical acclaim, modest buzz, some Pavement comparisons, but maybe not impassioned declarations of this being a huge breakout. This is probably fine for the band, but I could see more popular notice coming CEG’s way eventually. On Lose, Cymbals Eat Guitars maintains a high level of quality while making their sound more approachable and pop-rock than ever.
The album starts with a formidable 1-2-3 punch from “Jackson”, “Warning”, and “XR.” “Jackson” displays lead singer Joseph D’Agostino’s sharp, emotive voice. The song is full of heartfelt lyricism and seems to take a page out of Real Estate’s playbook. It also gives a good idea of the blueprints these songs take on the album, which are usually sprawling and intricate, always appearing to stake out new depths of sound over the course of a track. “Warning” is bound to be a favorite off of Lose, sporting a very classic garage rock sound. “Laramie” is another standout on the record, sounding a bit like It Still Moves-era My Morning Jacket. It’s a good example of Cymbals Eat Guitars just throwing the kitchen sink into a song, but always managing to keep it from feeling overwrought. “Chambers” showcases D’Agostino’s flexible voice, theatrically going down to punk rock growling or up to his falsetto in the poppier spots. He sounds a bit like Brandon Flowers (of The Killers), which I see as mostly a good thing.
These long tracks work well for the band, giving them the opportunity to twist their sound in interesting ways, never settling into comfortable, monotonous grooves. On the closer, “2 Hip Soul,” they go out in a style befitting Cymbals Eat Guitars on this album: guns blazing. It’s a glorious finish to a memorable, potent record.