Sunday, 24 June 2012

Cymbals - Sideways Sometimes EP (Tough Love)

In 1976, Wild Cherry famously demanded that white boys across the world "played that funky music" till they died. 36 years later, in 2012, Cymbals are a new band very keen to satisfy the US band's somewhat unrealistic demands. 
Approaching the task with gusto, Cymbals - an East-London four-piece - are in good company. Bands like Metronomy, who continue to a give danceable indie a good name, and disco upstart Kindness show that there's a continued commitment to the cause. Hell, even Mark Lanegen is providing the world's most notorious funky white boys The Bee Gees with some of a cultural cred, recently telling the Quietus that they’re "his Beatles".
Sideways Sometimes, an EP that follows Cymbals' 2011 debut Unlearn (both released on Tough Love), has more than enough funk in its trunk to keep Wild Cherry happy. But there’s also an out-and-out indie-pop sensibility running through the EP that will prove incredibly persuasive to anyone who thinks the genre has lost its sense of fun. Fleshed out with three untitled ambient tracks, the EP breezes along with basslines that err on just the right side of slapped and impeccable synths that evoke 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', if it was written by a happy person.
Bright and confident,  Cymbals are a band with an ethos summed up by a line in 'Intense Kids': "If you're going to make a mix, keep it light mate, their feet want to move." And keep it light they do. 'It Makes Me Seriously' has a casual disco groove befitting of Hot Chip, while 'No Bad Decisions' is an ode to riding bikes set to harmonies and skittering guitars. 

But, for some, Cymbals' upbeat joviality and their lead singer's East London affectation will certainly begin to grate after the seventeenth shrieked 'Ow!'. This vocal quirk, most prevalent on 'The Norms', an agitated tribute to irregular sleep patterns, sees lines enunciated in a pitch that constantly vies to register above the guitarist’s spikey notes, which are played exclusively from the fretboard's nether regions.

However, the lead singer has toned it down a fair bit since the debut, which bears results, as the contagious ‘Candy Bar’ shows. It strikes a catchy balance between brisk guitar and vocal restraint; exactly the kind of song you want to hear as winter finally ebbs away and spring turns into summer.


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