The first time I saw Cymbals Eat Guitars play, at One Eyed Jack’s in New Orleans with about 30 other people, I thought they sucked. The sound was off, to be sure, but there was something strange and off-putting about them. I’d never heard their record (they were the opener) and it didn’t make sense, that night at least, that a band could at one moment be striving so hard for a pure melody and, just a moment later, screaming their faces off. I believe the words I used were “They’re like Goo Goo Dolls with screamo interludes.”
Then a month later I heard their song “…And the Hazy Sea” played in someone’s backyard and flipped out and asked who the fuck is this? It was Cymbals Eat Guitars, and they’ve been one of my favorite bands ever since.
When they played live, the clash between melody and noise didn’t make sense (or else maybe I was just being a drunk asshole), but on the record it made all the sense in the world.
They’ve got a new album coming out in a few months — LOSE on Barsuk Records — and they just dropped the first song from it, “Jackson.” It’s a phenomenal Cymbals Eat Guitars song, the familiar juxtaposition of piano-led verses and the clash of guitars for the chorus. Cymbals Eat Guitars is a band that lives and dies by the climactic moments in their songs, and while no moment on “Jackson” comes close to the famous scream at three and a half minutes into “…And the Hazy Sea,” it does have several swing-for-the-fences moments that come through in a real way.
The song begins with Joseph Ferocious narrating, “You’re taking two Kolonopin, so you can quit flipping and face our friends,” and ends with swinging horns and a rangy Pavement-esque guitar solo, and it has me excited for the August day when the album drops. Stream “Jackson” below.