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Light In Your Mind
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  • Audio Mixer: Jorge Elbrecht.
  • Recording information: Total Refreshment Centre Studios (2016/2017).
  • Cymbals' third full-length album, 2017's Light in Your Mind, is a sanguine, deeply emotive, yet often brightly colored affair that reflects the turmoil and personal struggles the band went through prior to its recording. After the release of 2014's Age of Fracture, lead singer Jack Cleverly entered a bleak period that found him confronting his addiction issues and going through a divorce. As a side-effect, Cymbals underwent lineup changes that ultimately resulted in Cleverly and bandmate keyboardist Dan Simons remaining the sole members. Undeterred, they eventually returned to the studio and began crafting new material. Although the album still finds them exploring the band's longstanding love of kinetic, '80s-inspired post-punk, Light in Your Mind has an overall softer sound than previous Cymbals efforts, with songs like the moody "Decay" and the darkly shimmering "Where Nothing Can Be Defined" built around fuzzy keyboards and percolating guitar lines. It's a sound that brings to mind the stylish atmosphere of early-'80s Giorgio Moroder, the Cure, and New Order. There's also a discrete level of experimentation on Light in Your Mind, as evidenced by the inclusion of several instrumentals, as well as layered cuts like "ASMR," with its half-spoken vocals barely audible under a skittering wave of cello, synth, jangle-jazz-meets-Krautrock-guitar. The duo also weave in a surprisingly large amount of string instruments, as on the edgy "Where Nothing Can Be Defined," in which Cleverly's double-tracked croon rubs dramatically against a palette of plucked and bowed cellos, violin, and rippling synth. Of course, all of this tactile production is made even more affecting by Cleverly's often probing, self-effacing lyrics. On "Car Crash," he sings, "I'm a liar, 'cuz it helps me with the pain." Ultimately, however, it's Cymbals' ability to match hooky pop lyricism and weighty emotionality, as on the buoyant "Talk to Me," that makes Light in Your Mind such a bright spot at the end of the band's dark transition leading up to its recording. As Cleverly sings on "Talk to Me," "Just trust me, I'm feeling like we're having a good time now." ~ Matt Collar
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