To say that “I don’t get Crystal Castles” would be about as correct as it is unhelpful. By no means do I want to stand up on a soap box and be all, “This is just noise, you kids should go download some Brahms up in that,” …but I was ever so slightly tempted.
This is Crystal Castles’ second record, self-titled like the first, which I have zero exposure to. However, having heard and enjoyed ‘Celestia’, one of the tamer songs, I thought it would be worth a shot. What I found was striking: a series of discordant and harshly loud, nerve-grating electronic tracks, complete with matching shrill-scream vocals, punctuated by the occasional song I like.
With CC there’s certainly a spectrum of crazy-to-less-crazy, but initially I was so off-put I set it aside to collect digital dust. What caught my attention was when I heard ‘Not In Love‘ in a store somewhere, and it caught my ear. Further investigation led me to realize I already had the song, and so I committed myself to giving Crystal Castles another shot.
‘Not In Love’
[ mp3 ♫ ]
While I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it, if you want experimental, edgy, (scary?) electro-pop, these seem to be the people you want. Another pretty cool track was ‘Vietnam’, which you could dance to? I think maybe my problem is that I like some of the songs, but am still in the dark as to their function. Am I supposed to dance? Is there some emotional content to be had? Do the lyrics mean anything? Should I be screaming along, or silently reverent? Got me.
What’s really keeps me coming back to this album is the track ‘Baptism‘. The synth and beats are damn near flawless, and you can even almost understand what singer Alice Glass is saying. Maybe I just really liked the hook, but this is my favorite song on the album.
[ mp3 ♫ ]
Crystal Castles is ultimately good for two things: low volume background noise that is vaguely rhythmic, or high-volume ear-splitting dance tracks that you just have to thrash to for the sake of cutting loose. …I guess that’s what you get from a band whose name references He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.Crystal Castles