Cymbals named their debut album Unlearn after the way they tried to make it - consciously going against their instincts and trying to ‘unlearn’ the ideas they’d been brought up on in an attempt to “not be boring".

The result is a collection of melodic, arty, beat driven songs that combine off kilter dance with yearning lo-fi to document what it’s like to be young. This is the sound of life through the hazy lens of a Hipstamatic camera, like Silent Alarm without the tension that drove that album on.

Their Bandcamp page says that their sound incorporates dance, house, lol-fi (a new genre for me) and new wave. These disparate influences mean there are a kaleidoscope of ideas in each song. However, mixers de jour Rory Brattwell, D/R/U/G/S and James Yuill make sure that each one has space to breathe – and means the band have a sound to call their own.

That’s not to say there aren’t recognisable touch points for the record. Bloc Party and Foals are obvious comparisons. Opener ‘Summer Job’ starts with Gang of Four guitars and Kele-esque yelping vocals. ‘Wilderbeats’ and ‘Single Printed Name’ take a nice melody and mess with it the way the Foals do so well, while ‘Summer Escaping’ comes on like Hot Chip.

‘Good Luck’s’ charm is all in its oddly evocative lyrics with the key in the details (the best line: ‘you’re always making us watch Ken Loach’) .The lyrics show the wide eyed youthfulness of the band, lacking conceit or affectation and all the better for it. Stand out track ‘Jane’ continues this idea. A 21st Pavement-esque lullaby with a lolloping rhythm and plaintive lyrics it tells the story of getting older - ‘I remember songs and holding someone’s hand / my stomach turning that they might not ever understand’.

A cover version of ‘Kennel District’ was one of the first things the band recorded and there is that lo-fi, ramshackle charm to many of their songs that Pavement do so well. If they can reach those dizzy heights we could have a very special band. Unlearn is a great start, an album which aims for the heart and the feet - and constantly succeeds.

Photobucket