Crystal Castles (II)
- Reviewed by John Price
- Published on March 21st, 2011 at 2:11p.m.
Crystal Castles' follow up to their debut self titled album is a weird, strange mix of things that shouldn't really work together, but end up going together very well.
The album swings wildly from fast-paced, explosive, screamy punk-rock style electronic tracks, to chilled out, relaxed, haunting-vocals-infused ones. This strange mix makes for an interesting listen, as there seems to be two distinct styles to the band's sound.
The first are the chilled out, slower sound. These tracks, including Celestica, Empathy, Suffocation, Violent Dreams and Vietnam (amongst others). These tracks are perfect background listening (not that they're not good to listen to properly). It's probably my personal bias, but I usually prefer these types of song a lot more than the louder, faster pace tracks. Alice Glass's voice is perfect for this sound - she captures the mood and essence just right.
The second are the louder, more brash, punky tracks. These include Doe Deer, Baptism and I Am Made Of Chalk. A generous amount of electronic distortion on the tracks themselves, coupled with the shouty vocals and fast pace gives these tracks a distinctly different sound to the rest of the album. Some might argue that these tracks don't really fit in, but the energy in these tracks fits in with the underlying tone of the rest of the album seamlessly.
There are several stand out tracks on II which deserve a special mention. Not In Love is a mix of the chilled out and the punky sound this album clearly loves. The Robert Smith version is even better (find it on YouTube). Suffocation is another great sounding fantastical track which lets your mind drift. It sounds very much like Celestica, which is probably my favourite song on the album. I can't just pick the slower tracks, so my last 'stand out' track from the album is Baptism. It's the track that got me listening to the album in the first place. It's a very sparse track - brash, harsh vocals against a synth/guitar hybrid backing track. It is, however, full of energy (always good).