Crystal Castles album review


25 May 2010, 18:55

Crystal CastlesCrystal Castles

The second eponymous album (confusing right?) has been rushed to an early release because of an internet leak. It just goes to show how eagerly anticipated some music is. The initial reaction to Crystal Castles is aversion – it seems at first like a blitzkrieg of static and sharp electronica with screeching indecipherable vocals. That’s certainly what first track ‘Fainting Spells’ sounds like. If you can battle through the first impressions of Crystal Castles you start to realise why they’re so explosively popular. ‘Celestica’ is track two, smooth and soulful – not traits you would normally associate with the raucous live persona of Alice Glass. However, ‘Doe Deer’ is a short but scything barb of a track, filled with noise, distortion and piercing screams but it feels like an instant rave classic with distorted fanfare reminiscent of 90’s hardcore dance. ‘Baptism’ follows in a similar vein, drawing influence on big dance hits but throwing a new modern perspective onto it and sounding at points like an upbeat The xx before ascending into pumping beats and screams once again. ‘Year of Silence’ samples the strange language of Sigur Rós and ‘Empathy’ is an infinite r’n’b groove. The songs careers from soft to hard and improves the range only touched upon in their first album. Vocal manipulation was a big part of Crystal Castles’ debut and returns again on tracks like ‘Vietnam’. The rather oddly titled ‘Pap Smear’ is one of the highlights of the album, mixing almost normal vocals from Alice Glass with constantly shifting beats and synthesisers. ‘Not in Love’ revisits early electronic music and ‘Intimate’ feels like it could continue on forever. The album finishes in much the same way as it started with another impossible mess of noise. First impressions aside, Crystal Castles have kept the aesthetics that created such a buzz and then added some more.



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