Cymbals Eat Guitars

Why There Are Mountains

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Cymbals Eat Guitars steal brashly: "Cold Spring," for example, ruptures into what the band could only have referred to in practice as "the Modest Mouse part," all perverse locomotion and hoarse bleating, while the ramshackle wordiness of "Indiana" evokes Stephen Malkmus plainly, without reservation. Elsewhere rise great leviathans of ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead guitarissimo and noble falcons of Sufjan Stevens brass. These guys are second-rate thieves, in other words, stealing at will but without the authorial command to make these goods their own. But, standards be damned, that doesn't mean Why There Are Mountains isn't also a lot of fun -- particularly on opener "And the Hazy Sea," which sends the aforementioned leviathans vaulting over passages of simmering quietude and scorched-universe howls, the sort of immediate classic that bands start first albums with. It's the only song that manages to make its own statement, but even so, the band performs some novice alchemy elsewhere as well, transforming all the shameless pastiche into something of a reminder of classic indie rock's greatness. They're a far shot away from all that, but if nothing else, they prove they've got their eyes on the right destination.

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