A few weeks back, Cymbals Eat Guitars dropped their highly anticipated sophomore effort Lenses Alien. Like their first LP, the ambitious release was greeted with considerable praise. All 10-tracks on the record show off the group's undeniable talents as musicians and songwriters in different ways.
We here at NJU were lucky enough to get an in-depth track by track look into the album from CEG themselves. You can find out what the Staten Island quartet had to reveal about their latest offering below. Lenses Alien can be picked up over at Barsuk Records and downloaded at all major online retailers.
"Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)"
The fact that we have an eight and a half minute opener has become
something most people have to mention about this record. It is kind of
unconventional, but once we had everything recorded there was no other
sequence that worked for us. It just felt right to put this one first.
It's ended up being kind of an overture...it introduces all the other
sounds you'll hear later on.
A pop song about New Jersey and Texas and the cosmos. We thought this
one was going to be the single but everybody who heard it was like
"Nope." Not that they didn't like the song, it's just that the next
song feels more conventionally...
"Keep Me Waiting"
...single-y. This is a Cymbals Eat Guitars single. I wrote the music
and Joe wrote the lyrics. This is the first time that has happened,
hopefully of many. I had this thing on the guitar that I was calling
the "Sonic Youth riff". We played it for John Agnello and he said
"That sounds too much like Sonic Youth", but then he helped us move
some parts around.
On a good day this beginning of this song has a Kate Bush vibe. On a
bad day it has an "Eye of the Tiger" thing happening. We strive for
good days, but the bad ones are still pretty fun.
This was the first song the four of us all worked on writing together
after all of the lineup changes had been settled in late 2009. It took
us a pretty long time to write these ten songs, but I think that's
because we were trying to write new jams when we had a couple weeks
between tours. John Agnello helped us make this one more song-y by
encouraging us to get breezy at the end and ride out on some "ahhhs".
It worked! Ahhhhhhh.
This one appeared in a very early form as a b-side to "...And The Hazy
Sea", but we started to play it a little differently based on another
one of John's suggestions. We liked the newer, peppier version too
much to not include it on the record, so we came up with a cheeky new
title for the new version. Get it? There was one "Tunguska" and now
there's another one. Like it says in the song. See?
Another one that I wrote the music for and then Joe wrote the lyrics.
This one almost didn't make the record, but then we decided to get
weird and make it a little mini song. The chord changes are pretty
enough and it was fun to do something that was mostly instrumental. We
had a much longer version that we may revisit for live sets.
If any song on this record could sell a scene in a romantic comedy,
it's this one. You have our number, Hollywood.
If any song on this record could sell a sport utility vehicle, it's
this one, at least the intro. You have our number, Madison Avenue.
This song has nothing to do with the disgraced politician of the same
name. It's just sort of a cultural reference point to the time in
Joe's life that he is trying to make reference to in the narrative of
the lyrics. I should take this opportunity to make it very clear that
Gary Condit's name was eventually cleared, but since 9/11 happened
shortly afterwards, he sort of fell out of the news. Google it.
Stream the entire LP through Spotify.