Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Cymbals Eat Guitars’ Why There Are Mountains arrives at the end of a decade that flogged any meaning out of the term “indie rock” and in the middle of a year when fans of that particular style threw their support behind sounds as diverse as Grizzly Bear’s haunting avant-folk and Dirty Projectors’ twitchy, mutant R&B. Re-issued with a new cover and a greater distribution push, the Staten Island group’s debut full-length now affords a wider audience the chance to connect the dots between the college-rock of the 1980s and the songs that are used to sell today’s iPods and Zooey Deschanel movies. A Why There Are Mountains “spot the influences” drinking game could bring players to the point of blackout (or the Moon & Antarctica string bend on the album-closing “Like Blood Does,” whichever comes first). But while that state could be optimal for enjoying the record’s slack song structures, drunk cynics would miss several of the finest post-Black Francis screams committed to tape, as well as frontman Joseph D’Agostino's emergence as a preeminent chronicler of youthful suburban malaise. He’s certainly not the first kid to see the death of innocence in a “maelstrom of mail-order Marlboro memorabilia,” but he might be the first to sing about it—here’s hoping that future Cymbals Eat Guitars songs wrap such observations in similarly singular packaging.


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