As the social contract unspools, maybe the best course of action is dancing in the wreckage. So it goes with the second disc from Cymbals, a thinking man's London fourpiece that updates Thatcher-era synth-pop and post-punk yearnings with slapping syncopation and post-millennial angst. Don't be fooled by the surface-level patina of dour alienation and academic name-dropping, either. Once those signifiers thaw away, The Age of Fracture serves an all-night party platter. Guitarist/vocalist Jack Cleverly wisely avoids letting tortured prose undermine the heartbreak beats. Even though the premise of "The Natural World" centers on separation, Cleverly's French-bred falsetto and the explosive electro rhythm blast at the chorus command immediate attention. The elongated numb-strut of "Like an Animal" approximates after-hours escapism with alluring accuracy, while "Erosion" borrows a page from New Order guitarist Bernard Sumner to salve the wind-down. The strategically elusive songwriting and well-curated nostalgia quotient are almost enough to make disconnectedness sound fun. (1:15am, Cheer Up Charlie's; Wed., Maggie Mae's, 12mid)
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