Cymbals Eat Guitars

support Feel Freeze
author LF date 28/01/15 venue Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN

Even though Cymbals Eat Guitars have existed for several years it was only with the release of their third album last year, which is called "Lose", that they bleeped onto my radar. It is thus not a band that I am very familiar with but nonetheless "Lose" impressed me so much that I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity to hear the songs live. As I arrive at the venue, there's already a decent amount of people ready to check out the Danish support band of the evening and the room is buzzing as Feel Freeze calmly take the stage.

All pictures by Christian Søes

Feel Freeze

The support of tonight is a duo who play sweet and electronic indie rock. They are in some ways very different from tonight's headliner but as you will see, the two bands do have some significant elements in common. In Feel Freeze, one member is Else Raymonde Gaunoux who plays an electric guitar while she also provides vocals in almost operatic fashion. Her male counterpart, Mathias Vinther, mostly provides the main vocals while he is also in charge of keyboards, electronic pads, acoustic guitar and a cymbal. Befitting of their name, their sound is overall very cold in its heavy use of electronic sounds and mostly high-pitched vocals from both members. This impression is only further enhanced by their very precisely timed harmonies and tightly structured songs that play like clockwork. The most extreme example of this tonight is when they play a very minimalistic and dark cover of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" early in the set. Their own material is way more interesting though and has a richer and more organic sound due to a good mix between the electronic and acoustic instruments, for instance in their single, "Give Me Your Heart", that stands out as the most optimistic song of their set with its latin-sounding guitar riffs and groovy, summer rhythm. Even as the electronic beats pull some of the songs towards dance music territory, the guitars and the increasingly impressive vocals are what dominate Feel Freeze's set. While the audience claps politely to begin with, the applause increases between each song as the duo on stage showcase greater and greater vocal skill. Nonetheless, the duo has some technical difficulties tonight and while they play well, they never quite fill the room with their presence.

Cymbals Eat Guitars

As mentioned before, the two bands on the bill tonight have fairly different indie rock expressions but they do have some elements in common, primarily the inclusion of keyboards in their melodic and atmospheric sound. Cymbals Eat Guitars also have high-pitched vocals but with a very different and more reckless, energized attitude. Vocalist/guitarist Joseph D'Agostino fades into falsetto from time to time but more often than not he pushes his voice into a yell that gives his melodies some rough edges that contrast well with the atmospheric and loud punk-influenced music, especially well-executed in "Xr" and "Laramie" tonight. He is thus able to cut clearly through the very noisy sound of the instruments and make many of his lyrics audible in the loud mix. This makes it easier to stay engaged throughout their set as many of their songs overall have the same very heavily layered sound that swallows the listener right up when played live and loud. While it's mostly the keyboard and the heavily distorted and echo-laden guitars that dominate their sound, the bass has a very prominent role to play as well, as it grounds the more spacey noise-rock elements of their sound very well as they play through their set which consists mostly of newer songs. Indeed, they play through all of the nine songs from their most recent album in random order with a few older songs mixed in as well.

Since I arrived the crowd has only increased and now many of the listeners are bobbing their heads along to pretty much every song. Still, the potent energy in the music doesn't properly transfer to the audience before a mini-explosion happens up front towards the end of the set that has a few people jumping around. The band is not especially talkative tonight but come off as very professional, not least when D'Agostino breaks a string on his guitar and his band mates immediately go on to cover the fixing of this with a spacey, ambient interlude that fits comfortably between songs. Towards the end, the band members slowly leave the stage in characteristic noise-band manner, leaving the instruments to make distorted feedback noises, but refreshingly they return shortly for an encore. The evening ends with D'Agostino alone on stage, playing "Child Bride" from their newest record on an acoustic guitar, and the very beautiful melodies in this song provide a perfect finish to a pleasant evening that could, however, have been more explosive.

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