Sunday, December 12, 2010

Crystal Castles (2010) Album Review


I will start out by saying I am not the biggest fan of electronic music. This makes it very weird that I think that one of the best albums released in 2010 was Crystal Castles.

Crystals Castles is a Canadian duo that has been working together since 2004. Ethan Kath is the producer and Alice Glass writes the lyrics and provides the vocals. Supposedly they met whilst performing court-ordered community service. If true, this is a heart-warming story.

Crystal Castles started out with a few vinyl EPs, and then cranked out two eponymous albums. Confusing as anything, and probably not the greatest marketing idea in history.

I hated their 2008 release, which represented everything I dislike about electronic music. It sounded like an 80s video game soundtrack that was never going to end. Which makes the 2010 album that much sweeter.

While still edgy, their latest album is a lot more melodic, and may even be danceable. It certainly seems like a lot more creativity and work went into it.

For example, the album starts out with “Fainting Spells” which starts out with a great hook and gloriously tortured vocals, but then makes a smooth transformation into a more tuneful finish. This is the sort of depth I did not see on their 2008 album.

Other notable tracks are:

“Intimate” – the measure of how far Crystal Castles has come. This is one of the best electronic tracks I have ever heard.

”Doe Deer” – has a fabulous riff and noise. It also shows that the band can make listenable music and still have a very sharp edge.

“Celestica” – almost a pop tune. Fortunately, Alice Glass’ voice keeps it from being too radio-friendly.

”Baptism” – every club DJ will have this in his mix. You should too.

Of course, not every track is etched is solid gold. I could have lived without “Pap Smear” and “Year of Silence”. But overall, this is a really solid album.

So, I heartily recommend that you drop 10 bucks for Crystal Castles (2010) on iTunes. You deserve an early Christmas present.


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