Crystal Castles – (II) Crystal Castles – (II)

Crystal Castles (II)

Crystal Castles (II)

If you had goaded me into a conversation about Crystal Castles two months ago, it would have been hard for me to muster up much conviction on any opinion.  If asked then, what two words would I use to describe the band, I would have answered with a hearty:

Extremely abrasive.

Alice Glass, lead screecher, made my blood boil, my hair curl, and my face scrunch.

Upon learning of the sophomore Crystal Castles record, once again self-titled Crystal Castles (II), I had no expectations, but more abrasiveness.   Through countless plays I found that the album stuck with me wherever I traveled or sat.  This is the best thing Crystal Castles have ever done.

Synth, and heavily altered vocals reappear on this album.  I have never seen Crystal Castles live, but I did do some quick Youtube-ing, and from what I can tell her live vocals are hidden behind so many machines and fuzz I would not be able to tell if she actually has a good voice.  This leads me to believe that the real load bearers are those drums and the synth.  The synth made beats are pristine at times, while dark and grimy at others.  They are catchy, yet edgy and always interesting.

This time around Alice Glass has tamed the screaming, there are only two tracks where the word abrasive would come into play.  Unfortunately, one of them is the opening track “Fainting Spells”, it is a rough way to start the album.  “Doe Deer” has Ms. Glass really destroying her vocal chords, but the driving synth beat is so powerful it makes the track rather enjoyable.  “Year of Silence” has a Sigur Ros sample in it, coming as a bit of a surprise.  It would not be noticeable unless you are the kind who actively reads the liner notes.

Crystal Castles (II) ends up being a strong effort, 14 tracks, with the majority of them quite palatable.  I can very well foresee this being in “Bests of the Year” end lists.  Flash back to present day, and any conversations about Crystal Castles where I am again describing them in two words will be:

Exciting arrival.

Crystal Castles – (II) Track List:

1. Fainting Spells
2. Celestica
3. Doe Deer
4. Baptism
5. Year of Silence
6. Empathy
7. Suffocation
8. Violent Dreams
9. Vietnam
10. Birds
11. Pap Smear
12. Not in Love
13. Intimate
14. I Am Made of Chalk

Crystal Castles - (II), reviewed by Baer on 2010-06-21T11:40:36-07:00 rating 4.1 out of 5

One Response about “Crystal Castles – (II)”

  • Lemon says:

    Yeah. YEAH.

    This album is some seriously good shit. “Intimate” being my personal favourite electro track of the year thus far.