CYMBALS: The Age of Fracture
Age of Fracture is a book that examines how America went from a land of opportunity to one of uncertainty. A historic work such as this may seem like an unlikely influence for a record, but CYMBALS’ art rock LP captures that same sensation of insecurity in the modern world.
CYMBALS’ music works on two levels. On the surface, this is disco-tinged electronic music. The keyboards are central to the sound, but we still get plenty of organic sound, particularly from the rhythm section. There are some long instrumental sections that are perfect for dancing or zoning out. If you choose to engage simply through sound, then this is a funky, fun album.
But as the album’s influence indicates, The Age of Fracture goes so much deeper than that. “Like an Animal” lets on to anxiety with lines like, “Nothing can be as simple as you want/Nothing can be solid as a rock.” “The City” captures the increased pressure for work and productivity to rule life at the sacrifice of all else (“Dust on your doorbell/You’ve been hiding at your desk too long”). Perhaps the most immediate and relatable song comes near the end of the record, as “The End” describes an evening going out dancing and partying when too old to be on the scene anymore.
I can’t claim to get all of The Age of Fracture because I haven’t spent enough time with it yet. However, I’m looking forward to digging deeper, and very few albums invite their listener to come back for more in this way.