Album Review: Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles

With the scale and the sheer duration of the hype that has surrounded them you'd be forgiven for thinking that this must be Crystal Castle's third album rather than their first and yet after all this time it is still good to finally get to grips with their sound in an album format.

Any band that manages to tip a hat to Death From Above 1979 whilst recontectializing the sound of one of their few recordings earns respect from BlackPlastic, particularly when it is done as
convincingly as on album opener 'Untrust Us'. It does well to encapsulate the melancholic 8bit derrangement of the Crystal Castles sound and yet it is blown out of the water by what follows: 'Alice Practice' is already known as the track that got accidentally picked up on MySpace and lead to the band's fame and yet it retains its status as a call to arms. At once evoking the feeling of a scorching summer's day whilst simultaneously operating as a platform for both Alice's vocal freak outs and the aural stuttering that acts as the counterpoint to the melodies. It doesn't care about songs or albums or genres or even you very much... 'Alice Practice' does as it pleases and you can either tag along or get off the bus.

So a good start. Yet the pressure, whilst maintained gradually wears off. Crystal Castles is uncompromising in the same way Death From Above were uncompromising and the same way Test Icicles were uncompromising. There are plenty more good tracks - former single 'Air War' still shines, a glittering stomp that sounds like your cell phone transforming into a hand grenade. 'Vanished', a spooky reimagining of Van She's 'Sexual City' is also a standout.

If anything the problem is that the audience may not be ready - as when a listener experiences a new genre there is a danger that the subtle differences that mark out each composition are list in the noise of their similarities. Crystal Castles' grinding 8bit punk begins to segue into one when stretched out over an hour as it is here. One can't help but wish for perhaps a little less or the introduction of anoter artist or two for the duo to play off, indeed their early remix of the Klaxon's 'Atlantis To Interzone' remains one the best things they have done.

And yet... BlackPlastic cannot help but think the listener is the one at fault here. Crystal Castles are just doing what they wantand staying true to their vision and it almost feels wrong to judge so soon: one to revisit over the coming months.

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