Forget about hope and passion, these are difficult times. Although we’re always interested in staying quite positive and focussed on the better things in life, there are often times where losing faith and hope might be the only way out. It’s a time of change wherever you look – politics, society, climate and our personal life. But change always goes ahead with uncertainty and a lack of stability. And sometimes when this is combined with personal negative experiences there might be no other conclusion. Alice Glass – the charismatic front woman of electro-clash duo CRYSTAL CASTLES couldn’t name it any clearer when she says: “I didn’t think I could lose faith in humanity any more than I already had, but after witnessing some things, it feels like the world is a dystopia where victims don’t get justice and corruption prevails.” This is the starting point of the third record by her band which delivers familiar quality despite making everything else new.
CRYSTAL CASTLES are clearly a phenomenon since they first popped up in 2007. Alice Glass and Ethan Kath are a band like none else, this is for sure. They somehow perfected the incompleteness of their music in a unique way. Their pumping and partly spooky and trashy electro sounds always sound a bit off-beat, a bit too overdriven and weird while Glass’ vocals are constantly switching between hysteric screams and the fragile sound of a ghostly angel. Disturbing and raw but on the same side very catchy and melodic – CRYSTAL CASTLES celebrate the discord of their sound. Well, nothing is certain these days – so why bothering to decide for just one type of sound? The consequence continues and Crystal Castles (III) is the third record that is named like the group and another presentation of their ambivalent mood swings. Everything is new – at least that is what producer Ethan Kath claims. The band sold all their equipment, bought new one and recorded everything in a tradional analog way. But fans should not be worried about this – CRYSTAL CASTLES stick to their sound.
Starting with the spooky Plague, their third longplayer is probably a bit more ghostly and less direct as on the previous ones. You can say less hits, more weirdness. Wrath Of God for example combines a certain disturbence with fragile ambient moments. Pale Flesh presents itself even more reverbed with Glass in the middle of constantly pitchig vocals. A bit like HOLY OTHER maybe. The more groovable Transgender heads into the same direction. (III) is less obvious and loud, it prefers hiding itself and the messages of Glass behind a lot of echoes, reverbs and witch house moments. Revolution has to face depression. Although most of the new record is more introspective material, their are moments of typical CRYSTAL CASTLES crazyness like in the pumping four-to-the-floor banger Sad Eyes or Insulin, probably the most intentional overdiven song this band has ever recorded. It sounds like the machines cracked, but this is just standard for the group. Just as the album closer Child I Will Hurt You is the obligatory quiet outro of this record like on the others before. A beautiful and bittersweet lullaby.
Crystal Castles (III) is once again a strange and interesting experience for everyone who listens to it. It’s not like the band slowed down. Alice Glass still got the rebel yell, but it somehow became a bit less louder. Is it resignation? Do CRYSTAL CASTLES celebrate the dystopain times in their very own way? Maybe this path is not one of hope but it’s something they’ve do with passion. We probably all can agree on the certain importance of a group like this.
electro / experimental
from Toronto, Canada