Album Reviews

Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles

(Different) UK release date: 28 April 2008

If there is one way to truly experience Crystal Castles then forget thisalbum, buy a ticket and go see them live.

That isn’t as bizarre a recommendation as it would first seem. There arealbum bands whom you’d be a fool not to buy up their stock. Others are onlyreally understood when there is no barrier between you and them.

This reviewer stumbled upon Crystal Castles in such an environment,apathetically ignorant of the column inches spouting drivel about Atarisound chips, 80s cartoons and hookups with the Klaxons and Ed Bangerrecords. In fact, it might suit you to forget that there is a music industryand take everything you want to discover in the first person and make upyour own mind about things.

So that night was of the rare kind, where you honestly believed you wereexperiencing a moment which rendered everything else irrelevant. If thatsounds like tosh perhaps a second opinion is in order: have a read here and here.

So what’s changed since then? Life for Ethan Kath and Alice Glass as theyknew it. As with any in demand band, they’ve been javelined around thenorthern hemisphere with the urgency of US presidential election hopefulsduring the final throes of primary season. Single, promo, tour, promo,single, promo, tour, promo…the formula suits a certain type of band whileothers fall flat on their tired asses.

Crystal Castles find themselves caught in the middle, with this album acutting room of great ideas, works in progress and drafts which need to goback to the drawing board. Maybe its simply representative of their causticstage personas that this album has no flow and is a contradiction ofjuxtaposition: heady / abrupt / narcotic / combustive / flat out boring.

Its strongest elements tend to be those we’ve already heard: Air War,Courtship Dating, Crimewave, whilst it has a few offerings which shouldassuage those who have warmed to them early on: Untrust Us, 1991, Vanished.Others are a tired disaster which exemplify how 80s video game sound effectscan be put to overuse: Love And Caring, Through the Hoisery.

Ultimately it’s a reasonable effort which fosters a lot of potential.It’ll be far more rewarding for all concerned once Kath and Glass realise alearning curve straightens out only when they choose to.

buy Crystal Castles MP3s or CDs
Spotify Crystal Castles on Spotify

More on Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles – (III)
Crystal Castles + Magnetic Man @ Dome, Brighton
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles @ Astoria 2, London
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles