Cymbals; Big Mouth Struck Again

Surprises abound in life, if you’re doing it right, or even if you’re not. But everyone wants them to happen, even though they know that the outcome is out of our control.

A minor example: I just discovered that I live not five minutes’ walk from the Salford Lads’ Club, immortalised by the Smiths in the sleeve photo of The Queen Is Dead.

Now, I – like a million other pasty youths – had that photo on my wall when I was a youth. So when I walked past the club quite by mistake, the otherwordliness of the shock was very real, though quickly tempered by the gang of German tourists recreating the famous picture.

Today’s first surprise: Cymbals are not the first band to construct songs with a knowing, polyrhythmic bent, but they are the first for a while to do it with such conspicuous restraint.

Where others may have allowed such a tightly coiled premise rush away from them into generic snappy-disco-pop-rock territory, Cymbals have forged a much more interesting and even thoughtful sound.

Single Printed Name starts sparsely and the band are smart enough to temper their intentions until the very end, when the song explodes into the free-wheeling clatter it always promised.

Before then though, the song diverts our attention in the same manner that watching a leopard slowly stalk an antler might: we’re all just waiting for the slow, slinky movement to stop and the explosive, exciting bit to start. Kind of like life, like, yeah? Great stuff.


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