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Single Review: CYMBALS – Car Crash

 
By on Tuesday, 11th July 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s been quite a long time since we heard anything from London/Paris dance pop act CYMBALS, going back to a double-sided single release in December 2014 and an accompanying promo video in February 2015. But their last long-player ‘The Age of Fracture’ was one of the most memorable albums I reviewed in 2014, and its songs find their way into my playlist rotation on a fairly regular basis. So, I was intrigued when I heard that CYMBALS are not only releasing new music, but that they have a full album on the horizon.

“We kind of stopped everything in its tracks around two years ago,” says singer and songwriter Jack Cleverly on CYMBALS’ Bandcamp page. “2014 was a really intense year. One-by-one the other guys in the band couldn’t face it anymore, so we widened the family, met new people and worked with them, until they had to move on and then we worked with others. It was hard on a personal level, but as a band, it also felt like a kind of chrysalis.” As it happened, 2014 was also the year we at TGTF caught up with CYMBALS at SXSW, in this interview with then-bandmembers Luke Carson and Neil Gillespie. Since that time CYMBALS have ultimately pared back to a duo, with Cleverly and keyboardist Dan Simons splitting the songwriting duties.

Their latest single release is ‘Car Crash’, which will feature on the upcoming LP ‘Light In Your Mind’. CYMBALS’ songs have always been a bit brainy on the lyrical side of things, but musically centered on visceral electronic dance rhythms, and those of you who were already fans will be happy to find that the basic formula hasn’t drastically changed. The overarching dichotomy plays out in a remarkably clear way on ‘Car Crash’, where Simons’ bright synth arrangement underscores Cleverly’s sullen vocals and lyrics about blind oblivion and self-destruction (“It just might be beauty, but I don’t even care”). Taken as a preview of the album to come, ‘Car Crash’ is an indication that CYMBALS might have found a figurative fountain of youth, conjuring up the initial energy and intensity of a band fresh on the music scene.

8/10

Self-described “dancefloor confessional” track ‘Car Crash’ follows ‘Decay’, the first teaser from CYMBALS’ new album (watch its promo video just below). CYMBALS’ third LP ‘Light in Your Mind’ is due for release on the 25th of August via Tough Love, and the band have announced a one-off album release show at London’s Thousand Island on the 31st of August. TGTF’s previous coverage of CYMBALS is collected back here.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/9fDlTd1wcHg[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1741: CYMBALS

 
By on Tuesday, 10th February 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

It’s not every day I get sent a video with a subject line including the words “beautifully awkward” (as described by FADER magazine). So I queued up CYMBALS‘ latest promo for ‘Talk to Me’ with some trepidation. Frontman Jack Cleverly explains the thought process behind the single:

“There’s something a little aggressive and direct in the phrase ‘Talk To Me’, it’s a demand made of the other, of the lover. There’s a parallel with the spirit of the chorus to our song ‘Natural World’ (“I don’t know enough about you to be kind to you”). The direction of the video meant that I had to stare directly on and kind of chant these words at the camera. It felt like the right way to portray these kinds of words, the right attitude in which to sing them.

“There are many images or phrases that came to me as part of a feeling related to this continuing theme (love and communication), that I cannot necessarily piece together easily. This theme of the failure of language and difficulty of communicating love or understanding in this way is in a lot of our songs.”

Channelling the spirit of ’80s New Wave brilliantly, it’s a corker of a track. Watch the lilac-shaded promo that accompanies it below. The single is now out on 7″ vinyl and digital download on Tough Love Records; past coverage on CYMBALS on TGTF is this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AxadRm1NPE[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: CYMBALS play five tracks live for Seattle radio station KEXP

 
By on Thursday, 9th October 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

Carrie and I were just talking last week about us catching CYMBALS perform live at SXSW 2014 at Cheer Up Charlie’s, where I almost missed them by accident. The English band were over here in the States over the summer for a short string of live dates. Naturally, when they were in Seattle, they recorded a live set for radio station KEXP, as you do. In the video below are ‘Erosion’ ‘You Are’, ‘Winter ’98’, ‘The Natural World’ and ‘Like an Animal’, now committed to film for posterity. Enjoy.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwLKt7KwYMU[/youtube]

 

SXSW 2014 Interview: Luke Carson and Neil Gillespie of CYMBALS

 
By on Thursday, 27th March 2014 at 1:00 pm
 

Mary and I arrived in downtown Austin late on the Thursday night of SXSW 2014, after we attended a special Sofar Sounds show earlier in the evening. Once we were back in the now-familiar downtown area, we split up, Mary rushing to see Longfellow at the British Music Embassy, while I headed off to try to catch The Strypes at Swan Dive before my tentatively-scheduled interview with CYMBALS.

Like everyone at SXSW, CYMBALS were on kind of a crazy schedule, and it took a flurry of texts and e-mails to arrange the final meet up for the interview. In the end, I only managed to catch a few minutes of The Strypes before I diverted to Cheer Up Charlie’s to chat with CYMBALS before their late night show. Cheer Up Charlie’s is another dual-stage venue with bands playing both inside and outside, but I managed to find a fairly quiet place to talk with the CYMBALS’ rhythm section, bassist Luke Carson and drummer Neil Gillespie, about their recent album ‘The Age of Fracture’, their busy touring schedule and some of the other bands they had the chance to see during their time in Austin.

 

Thanks to Daniel and CYMBALS singer/guitarist Jack Cleverly for sorting the details of this interview.

CYMBALS at Cheer Up Charlie's 13 March 2014

CYMBALS bassist Luke Carson

 

CYMBALS at Cheer Up Charlie's 13 March 2014

CYMBALS drummer Neil Gillespie

 

CYMBALS at Cheer Up Charlie's 13 March 2014

CYMBALS keyboardist Dan Simons

 

SXSW 2014: the second half of Steve Lamacq’s BBC Introducing showcase at Latitude 30 – 13th March 2014

 
By on Tuesday, 25th March 2014 at 3:00 pm
 

A universal problem faced by all punters attending any festival are the dreaded schedule clashes that tear your insides apart. When I met Steve Lamacq Wednesday night at Parish Underground, he asked if I was going to be at his BBC Introducing night at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 on Thursday night. It was surely going to be a huge night for Lammo,as he had not put on a showcase at SXSW since 2008, when he brought a then unknown Florence and the Machine to Austin. I knew where my night was going to begin – we’d RSVPed to a Sofar Sounds: Austin secret show nearly 10 miles north out of town but knew nothing else – and I felt terrible telling him I could not be there for the start when THUMPERS were due on at 8. But I promised him I’d do my best to get there as quickly as I could once we were done with our previous engagement. And anyone who knows me well knows I will do everything in my power to keep a promise.

After the Sofar show, we drove back into town and I prayed to the parking karma gods that we would find a decent space not too far from all the downtown action. I guess they listened. As soon as we were parked, I left Carrie, who had a leisurely walk to Cheer Up Charlie’s, and practically sprinted all the way down to Latitude 30, going the long way round via Trinity and 5th Street to avoid the busiest section of 6th Street. (Yes, folks, after having done it 3 years running, SXSW does run like a military manoeuvre in my head.) I just missed the eccentric Cousin Marnie, who finished shortly before I arrived. But I was okay with that, because I was looking for someone else. Well, five other someone elses.

I don’t normally go up to people I don’t know and ask for help looking for someone else. But SXSW is a unique animal, am I right? And if you don’t ask, you don’t get. There were a couple of guys sat on the benches outside Latitude 30, and I went straight up to one of them and said, “excuse me, sorry to bother you, but I’m looking for the guys in Longfellow. Do you know where they are?”

He laughed. “I’m in Longfellow!”

Oops! Maybe it was divine intervention, but I found who I was looking for. One of Fierce Panda Records’ most recent acquisitions, Longfellow are a London band who everyone, including compere for the night Steve Lamacq, is expecting huge things from. As a fan of many of the bands on the Fierce Panda roster, when I received their first single ‘Siamese Lover’ in my email, I had to have a listen. I was instantly smitten. As the band were only playing this one BBC Introducing showcase and it was going to be their American premiere appearance, I knew I had to be there. I wished them good luck and we were going to catch up afterward, which we did for this post-gig interview in which they were humble, yet wide-eyed lads eager to start the next phase of their career.

I viewed their actual performance as a bit of a fairy tale, so I can only imagine how they must have felt. They don’t even have a debut album out yet, but Steve Lamacq took a chance on them and the other UK acts playing in the showcase that night. Because the BBC were both recording audio and video of the night, you can imagine the lighting was even more impeccable than on any of the other British Music Embassy nights. Nerves must have run rampant as this was the London band’s first experience with an American audience, but they played as if seasoned veterans as Austin – and later through BBC iPlayer – listened and watched on. In a particularly heartfelt moment, frontman Owen Lloyd – whose speaking voice some compare to Prince William’s – thanked the BBC and everyone who’d been supporting them up to this point, even going so far as to dedicate their next single ‘Hug – Kiss – Makeup’ . Bless. I’ve included the BBC’s professional video of the song below, because you’ll spy the camera of someone else who was videotaping the song as well. (Guess who.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3uZMNGw18M[/youtube]

There’s an anthemic quality to many of their songs, which explains why many people are already making their predictions that Longfellow is on track to become the next Coldplay. As the lights alternated from red to blue to purple from song to song, I couldn’t help thinking about that crazy wristband thing Chris Martin and co. did at stadium shows a couple years ago and wondered if this was a sign of things to come. However, the deepness and heightened emotions of Lloyd’s voice beats out Martin’s easily. ‘Waiting for Elvis’ was a highlight, as was an earlier song of theirs, ‘Gabrielle’, which will remind you of Chapel Club‘s debut album, except brighter when the song breaks open at the chorus. However, it was ‘Siamese Dream’ that swept me into a dancing mood, and I’m sure I amused more than a couple staring Americans.

That night, I also caught BBC Sound of 2014 nominees Royal Blood. But maybe ‘caught’ is the wrong word, as I could only stand four songs (I hung tight for behemoth ‘Little Monster’; see video below) before I had to give my ears a rest. I probably should have stood in the back instead of trying to be down the front in a desperate attempt to photograph Mike Kerr (vocals / bass) and Ben Thatcher (drums) but it was kind of pointless, because unlike Longfellow’s gorgeous multi-coloured light display, Royal Blood basically played in near darkness. Sorry John, I am sure you are disappointed, but I figured if I had stood there any longer, my ears would start bleeding.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub6Q0DWg-g0[/youtube]

I met with Carrie later on, who was waiting for CYMBALS to bring the dance funk to the indoor stage at Cheer Up Charlie’s. But in a hilarious twist of fate, I accidentally got swept up in the wrong crowd, having been directed into the wrong queue and ended up knee deep with the photographers on a raised platform waiting for Future Islands on the outdoor stage instead. Seeing that the buzz surrounding Future Islands at this year’s SXSW was so massive, yet I didn’t bother to wait for them to start as I was concerned I’d be swallowed up by the crowd once they began playing, I beat a hasty retreat to be reunited with Carrie inside.

And if you were wondering about my keeping my promise to Lammo, I found him inside Latitude 30 before Longfellow took to the stage. I proudly showed him the photos I’d taken on my camera to show him why I wasn’t able to arrive to his showcase any earlier and who I’d gone to see. Upon seeing a band important to both of us, he smiled. When I told him that I was interviewing Longfellow after they played, he replied, “that’s great. They’ll be dead chuffed!” “Dead chuffed” is actually how I would describe myself upon meeting this band who I think has what it takes to be massive stars.

 

(SXSW 2014 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #1463: CYMBALS

 
By on Tuesday, 4th March 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Ahead of their appearances in Austin next week for SXSW 2014, CYMBALS have a brand new video out for ‘Erosion’, featured on their latest album on Tough Love Records, ‘The Age of Fracture’. (Carrie reviewed it here.) A spinning skull, waving blades of grass, computerised pastoral scenes, robotic dogs and cats – it’s all here. Watch the video below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE_43ka4AdI[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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