The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2014 Records

Reviewed by Greg Beets, March 14, 2014, Music


The Age of Fracture (Tough Love)

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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