Cynics – Stones I’ve Thrown 7″

Cynics - Stones I've Thrown coverCynics is Giles Bidder, a musician based in London, who plays “heartfelt acoustic punk”. You want reference points? I’ll give you reference points: Cynics are part of the current, wonderful wave of British punk rock that has also given us Apologies, I Have None, Serf Combat, Calvinball, Bangers and Bastard Rats among others.

Acoustic outfits live and die on the strength of their lyrics and I’m happy to say that this 7″ demonstrates that Cynics have the punk rock personal/universal juxtaposition down well: the songs are all about lived moments and shared experiences but presented in a way that will be familiar to many listeners.

Take ’14 Coleman Street’, a fun tune with plenty of sing-along moments. What’s it about? Riding the bus and buying beer from Easy Hours. (Man, those things are everywhere these days.) “I’ll stay awake forever,” Giles sings. We’ve all been there.

It’s followed by probably my favourite song, ‘You’re Alright’, a very low-key love song about the little things someone says and does, the habit and hobbies that characterise a person. It could easily clog the song with sentimentality but fortunately avoids this: “Write me a list of your favourite records / I know you love writing lists and listening to Jets to Brazil” has to be one of the sweetest couplets I’ve heard in ages. It sinks down into territory a little more melancholy towards the close, of course, but there’s always a little sadness, right?

“It’s better to be alone than miss someone, but not if you know what you’re missing.” Too goddamn right, man.

Things pick up for the altogether more lighthearted ‘Be Excellent to Each Other’, an upbeat tune featuring – hooray! – handclaps. It is, essentially, a decent song about being good to one another. The 7″ is then capped by ‘Memorial Day’, a Paint It Black cover, which works well as an acoustic tune complete with singalongs.

Cynics don’t demonstrate any amazing musicianship but I would argue that this is not relevant; the songs are exactly what they need to be, a catchy, melodic delivery vector for some good lyrics and fun times. I can imagine seeing Cynics live in a small, intimate venue with friends – and people who feel like friends through proximity and, yes, shared experience – and the whole thing feeling pretty special. House party now!

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