Photo by Roger Street
Photo by Roger Street

Cymbals Eat Guitars – The Underworld, London (10th Feb 2017)

Cymbals Eat Guitars, whose name is derived from a Lou Reed quote describing The Velvet Underground, are an indie rock band with shoegazing influences. They are sometimes compared to bands such as Pinegrove, Japandroids and Cloud Nothings. Having released ‘Pretty Years’ in September of last year, this ten-year strong band now have four full-length albums under their belt. (This is what most of their set list will consist of songs from, despite the inalienable greater popularity of debut ‘Why There Are Mountains’ – the crowd won’t seem to mind anyway.)

The first band on stage tonight are a sludgier, moodier, angstier, more apathetic Donovan Wolfington/Sorority Noise-esque emo/punk rock/indie band. With not too many bands straight out of London ending up sounding as if they belong somewhere within the spectrum of American rock, it may be worth catching them live on their Feb ’17 tour of the UK, ending back in London on the 19th.

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Interestingly, artsy Swedish indie rockers Francobollo are also touring the UK in April and May. Tracks from their wonderful ‘Wonderful EP’ sound yet more so in a live setting.

Opening with ‘Finally’ – the opening track of newest album ‘Pretty Years’, Cymbals Eat Guitars power through seventeen songs, six off their newest release and only the classics ‘…And the Hazy Sea’ & ‘Wind Phoenix’ performed off of ‘Why There Are Mountains’. Nonetheless, each song is played with fire and fervour, screaming (literally) with energy that makes the entire quartet (especially the synth player) rather fun to observe for an extended period of time. Occasionally, guitar soars off with almost My Bloody Valentine-esque tones of textures into a high-pitched tremolo delay sweep storm reminiscent of that of the post-rock greats.

All in all, it’s a great show, with the pyrotechnics coming directly from the heart of the band. Tonight Cymbals Eat Guitars are a band playing catchy, powerful rock songs with comforting walls of fuzzy noise to a surprisingly headbanging-enthusiastic audience.