CYMBALS - The Age of FractureFor Those Who Like: early ’80s pop (think New Order, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys), Bear in Heaven, and The Cure

If you’re looking for a fun, pop album to celebrate the arrival of spring, look no further than CYMBALS’ The Age of Fracture, the London quartet’s second LP that was released a couple of months ago. Dubbed as an art-pop band, the album mostly centres around the nostalgic pop of the early ’80s while also dabbling in modern synth sounds that artists like Twin Shadow have perfected.

The opener, “Winter ’98”, lends itself more to a deep house tune and something that one would hear Blood Orange produce. It sets the mood, though, for the album – groovy and one that will make you want to dance. The infectious and quirky “Natural World”, which was actually released as a single in 2013, recalls early Depeche Mode (think “I Can’t Get Enough” without the redundant chorus). “You Are” maintains the infectious, poppy pace, but this time looping in melody shifts and a dream-pop ending, creating a sound similar to Oklahoma City’s The Uglysuit.

The stunning track, though, is “Like An Animal” – a 9-minute epic tune that mixes funk, ’80s synth pop, and deep house. It’s the one track that mostly resembles Twin Shadow’s production and something the great indie artist would likely appreciate. The melody shifts, the drum machine kicks, the synth, and the little flicks of the strings of the guitar and bass are used to timely perfection. It’s a song made for retro clubs and house parties.

Erosion” follows – another catchy, nostalgic tune that could be best described as a cross between Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and The Cure. Even lyrically, it is similar to some of The Cure’s early tracks.

Getting away, I’m an ocean
Like dust in motion
I could make alone

Oh, I know, I feel
It’s not a part of my heart
I know, I feel
I’m getting over this thing

Welcome spring, invite guests over for a BBQ, and put on this record. Next thing you know, you’ll be warped back to your younger days when gatherings would suddenly become dance parties.

CYMBALS consists of J, D, L, and N; otherwise known as Jack Cleverly (lead vocals, guitar), Dan Simons (keyboard), Luke Carson (bass), and Neil Gillespie (drums).

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CYMBALS AgesandAges - DivisionaryFor Those Who Like: Field Music, Army and Navy, The Head and the Heart

The multi-talented and genre-crossing Ages and Ages also recently released their second LP, Divisionary. The title is extremely apt for this album as it really is like listening to two EPs. The first half of the album is predominantly – although not entirely – indie pop and indie rock. The opening track, “Light Goes Out” echos of Field Music and Toronto super-indie group Broken Social Scene.

The opening track, “Light Goes Out” echos of Toronto super-indie group Broken Social Scene while the second song, “I See More”, is an uplifting, poppy number in the mould of Army and Navy.

The third track is the first that introduces us to the Americana-indie folk sound of the band. Following the formula of The Lumineers, The Head and the Heart, and Of Monsters and Men, “No Pressure” is a toe-tapping, hand-clapping number with a rousing chorus.

The Weight Below” is a cheery, danceable indie-pop tune and arguably the best track on the album. It is a song that is reminiscent of A.C. Newman-written songs for The New Pornographers. In some ways, this is the band’s anthem, as they sing, “Wait a minute / Give us your patience! / Consider us all once in a while / And the weight that we left behind / We’re all better off without it”.

Starting from “Over It”, the rest of the album slows down with indie-folk tunes, songs to be played with your friends around a campfire. The best of the bunch is “Calamity is Overrated”, a haunting, dark slow burner. Don’t be surprised to hear this song in a commercial or a TV show soon. It has that atmospheric quality.

Ages and Ages is a seven-member collective, where each members provides the vocals for the tracks, hence the choir pop moniker. The band consists of Tim Perry (guitar, vocals), Sarah Riddle (percussion, vocals), Rob Oberdorfer (bass, vocals), Becca Schultz (keys, vocals), Levi Cecil (drums, vocals), Annie Bathancourt (guitar, percussion, vocals), John McDonald (guitar, vocals), and Jade Brings Plenty (percussion, vocals).

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Ages and Ages - Photo by Brittney Bush Bolley

Photo by Brittney Bush Bolley

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