Share new video for ‘Decay’
Taken from forthcoming album, Light In Your Mind
out 25th August 2017 on Tough Love Records
CYMBALS have unveiled the video for new single ‘Decay‘, shot during the winter months in a number of British seaside towns, including Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Southend.
Director Matthew Reed says of the video, “When I first heard ‘Decay’ I immediately saw images of a coastal town: overcast, wintry and out of season. Jack and I then chatted and really bonded over a shared love of W.G Sebald’s ‘The Rings of Saturn’, which tells the story of a walk along the East Coast from Lowestoft to Harwich, and is set very much in the type of towns I’d envisioned. So we decided to make the video a portrait of that landscape.
“I filmed over a couple of months in a mix of seaside towns and their surrounding areas. These are towns, which, whilst often beautiful, also contain some of the poorest and most deprived wards in Britain. They depend almost entirely on summer tourism and in the winter basically become ghost towns. So I wanted to structure the video as a cycle, moving from winter into spring, exploring how the landscape, weather and fortunes of those towns are always revolving, and changing with the seasons. And while there is a bleakness there, there is also something very hopeful and beautiful too.”
Jack Cleverly, one half of CYMBALS, says of the song:
“At the time I wrote this, everything was changing in my life, and I was changing inside, and I started to look at the slow process of decay that is part of life. I was reading ‘The Enigma of Arrival’ by VS Naipaul, which talks about the decay of an english estate, on which the writer lives. The estate used to have 16 gardeners, now it has one, part-time. Naipaul describes the growth of ivy on the estate, that the reclusive landlord (the last member of his family), encourages, even though it pulls down walls and old trees, changing the landscape of the estate gradually, and letting it drift into a picturesque form of ruin. At one point he compares the landscape to his hometown in Trinidad, to the makeshift corrugated roofs there, and draws a parallel with the way he too sees beauty in a landscape that is slowly falling apart.”
About Light In Your Mind:
“These ideas, of a world in decay, a world subject to constant change, and of the shortness of human life, made many things bearable” – VS Naipaul
Light In Your Mind is the first new material from CYMBALS in two years, and their first album since January 2014. If the wait seems long for the listener, for those involved in its creation the time in between pulls in a lifetime of unexpected experiences. That Light In Your Mind even exists is a testament to not giving in.
Since inception, CYMBALS’ line up has been subject to a great deal of change. Amidst that change there has always existed the songwriting duo of Cleverly and Simons, who formed the band in 2011 with the sole intention of “having fun”. At various points over the last six years and across three albums, an EP and single, a rotating cast of at least ten other people have formed some version of CYMBALS. It wasn’t until everything else was stripped away and all others had left that the two finally began to be what they first tried to be.
Others still contributed to Light In Your Mind – Justin Goings and Josh Hefferman both provide drums, while Alabaster DePlume plays saxophone on “Fully Automated Luxury.” Producer Kristian Robinson (Capitol K) is a major presence across the album and played a key role in guiding the transition from the band’s sound on their previous record to this one (indeed, this was the first time the band spent any significant time in a studio). Jorge Elbrecht, whose work with Ariel Pink and Tamaryn had inspired the band, mixed the record in Miami, adding those elusive final touches that make it CYMBALS’ best album to date.
Cleverly explains, “When the band cut down to just me and Dan, and we stopped trying to find more people, I remember that it was scary at the time, and we didn’t know if we would keep going. We agreed to a few rehearsals together and see where it went. We had a great surprise: it felt great, the writing was easy. It was if together we gave up trying to be anything other than what we are. We cut any bullsh*t between the two of us and talked honestly about the last few years. We found that when we started writing together, we were going faster towards the feeling that had given rise to CYMBALS in the first place.”
The ‘bullsh*t’ that Cleverly refers to was hardly trivial. Failing relationships, betrayal, addiction, illness: the emotional challenges were huge. Thankfully, they were not insurmountable, and as with so much creative practice, it was through the music itself that a wider understanding of the world was found.
Light In Your Mind features 11 eclectic original songs, ranging from melodically memorable pop (“Car Crash,” “Talk To Me”), bucolic instrumentals (“My Body,” “Numbers”) and longer, pensive songs that explore the space in between (“ASMR,” “I Thought I Knew You”). “Fully Automated Luxury,” the sole song fully written by Dan Simons, is minimal and soulful, accompanied by strings, harmonies, and a beat akin to Rhye.
Cleverly recognizes the unexpected contrasts best when commenting on the name of the album: “The title Light In Your Mind comes from the song “Where Nothing Can Be Defined.” The idea of not being able to name what’s happening is kind of a cop out, but it’s about grasping at something within when that thing within is not a clear light or dark.”
Cleverly elaborates, “In this title I see the image of a guy escaping an imaginary world. But the Light In Your Mind is that there is nothing to escape. In the constant decline, there is always revival.”
As final track “Lifetime Achievement Award” concludes, a synth loop first heard on the opening track is subtly re-introduced, completing a circle of sorts. Like decay, the album never really ends. And like CYMBALS, at the end it’s born anew again, stronger than before.
Previous praise for debut album, The Age of Fracture:
“Guitar-flecked electro at its most hypnotic and sublime” – The Sunday Times
“Unfettered adrenalin rush” – MOJO (4/5)
“Fun with a capital ‘F’, but there are moments of gravitas too. Not easy to do that” – NME (8/10)
“‘The Age of Fracture’ ends with the long walk home and the stark, wiry isolation of instrumental ‘Call Me’. It makes sense – everything has been said.” – DIY (4/5)
“On The Age of Fracture, they’ve settled down and drawn out a solemn groove, furthering a sound indebted to bands like New Order and Depeche Mode, acts who sensed that sometimes the best way to solve an existential crisis was to leave it all on the dancefloor.” – Pitchfork
2. Car Crash
3. Talk To Me
4. I Thought I Knew You
5. My Body (Winter Mix)
6. Where Nothing Can Be Defined
8. Euphoric Recall
10. Fully Automated Luxury
11. Lifetime Achievement Award