Plenty of bands want to take you higher and even more are looking to get you down, but it's increasingly rare to find a record that sounds good with a AAA guidebook and a few hours to get to god knows where, as long as it's somewhere else. Despite the unabated use of adjectives like "sprawl ing" or "sweeping" or "epic," the indie road trip album has become something of a lost art, with bands mostly forgoing dense, pent-up instrumentation that slowly unfurls and releases-- you know, that lonesome crowded sound. You could blame it on so many bands being from autophobic NYC, or that the Pacific Northwest gods of indie are still going too strong to already be a primary influence, but neither would explain New York's Cymbals Eat Guitars' Why There Are Mountains. While there's plenty of geographical signifiers on their debut, it's almost topographic in its approach, without hooks and choruses so much as map-like layouts of mountains and sloping valleys.
|# 3 -||AoTY 2009|