Otherworldly electro-crazy-clash, warped dance beats amalgamated amongst laborious vocals – that’s Crystal Castles. On first inspection you may find yourself confused, perturbed perhaps, and seized by the urge to throw Miss Kitty Fantastico at the stereo, but if you just have the bravado to delve further into the realms of their silvertronic world you may just find something of greater magnitude.
From the off, this record has the ability to gain victory over those who look at the Canadian duo, with their ‘fashionista’ demeanour, and disregard them as the latest fad. Crystal Castles are no fad. They will never be commercial enough to be a fad. They live and work by their own rules. This not a simple case of style over substance; for Crystal Castles, style is irrelevant and substance overrated.
Frontwoman Alice Glass is often reminiscent of the Olympian riot grrrls with her agonised outpourings that many have dismissed as unnecessary noise. Noisy it may be but the former Fetus Fatale girl is showing us her soul every time she unlocks her lips. It may not always be pretty or gratifying, but she bares it without looking back, and without ever correcting herself. Not that this is a one-woman show. Ethan Kath seems to possess the ability to play any instrument that takes his fancy. Here, however, he favours his keyboard and Atari 5200 sound chip.
If Crystal Castles were robots then ‘Love & Caring’ is the sound of them play fighting. After a gruelling and raucous match, Glass eventually finishes her male counterpart off, despite him giving it everything he’s got. Kath distorts every sound imaginable and somehow still makes you want to dance. His efforts can also be seen in ‘Black Panther’ with its raw and delectable euphoria. But, like the rest of Crystal Castles, the going can be gloomy, hellish even, at times…but then that’s life for you.
Despite her petite frame, Glass twists and wails are larger than life on ‘Alice Practice’, the ‘accidental hit’ broadcast over Myspace back in 2005. It is hard to believe that this was simply Glass testing a microphone as it’s the most affable this debut gets; recent single ‘Courtship Dating’ demonstrates Crystal Castles’ jovial side, and who doesn’t enjoy a lively love song about taxidermy?
[Different; April 28, 2008]
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