Rather than playing it safe and simply re-creating their 2009 debut, Cymbals Eat Guitars decided to tweak their sound in a moodier direction on their sophomore album, Lenses Alien. Focusing on mining melody from discord, the band’s follow-up combines the jangly harmony of Archers of Loaf with the slick precision of the Dismemberment Plan, pinning listeners under a Wall of Sound in songs like “Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)” before letting them explore the wide-open spaces of “The Current.” Despite only taking a couple of years to put out a second album, Lenses Alien also feels like an altogether more grown-up record. A lot of the sparkling ebullience that permeated Why There Are Mountains seems to have given way to a darker tone that gives the band a more weathered sound without making them seem jaded or weary. This kind of shift marks Cymbals Eat Guitars as a band that is willing to grow their sound rather than just be content to release the same album again and again, making Lenses Alien an album that’s not only a great follow-up to their first album, but a promise of good things yet to come.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney