From the very first gritty, bit-core note I heard from Crystal Castles, I thought this band was going to redefine my life (initial infatuation can be found here). Their Alice Practice 7″ was on constant repeat in my dorm room, much to the chagrin of my then-roommate, who i am certain i drove to the brink of insanity. Next, came their sweeping collection of masterful remixes, of which an entire cd was later created from, Remixed Rewired. And then! they released their first, self-titled LP and my obsession reached even newer heights. Granted, I could no longer see them in tiny venues and 3-dollar warehouse parties, but I felt their fame to be much-deserved. I didn’t care if I thought CC was asking me to “throw [my] kids into the ocean” on their track, “Black Panther,” (which I later discovered was an incorrect and slightly embarrassing interpretation). In fact, I loved them even more for this and made the song my ringtone. This album was a gold mine of hits, even if the concept CC had based their aesthetic on had become a bit overplayed by that point.
Upon first listen of the Canadian duo’s newest album, which is self-titled again (brilliance or lazy self-indulgence?) I had a very difficult time even getting past the first track, “Fainting Spells.” The opening track is a cacophony of static, frantic wails, and distortion, and not necessarily in that epic Wall Of Noise way. So, I turned off the album, bitched and moaned for a hot minute, and then decided to give it a second chance due to me and CC’s hot and steamy past. I am so glad I did. Crystal Castles’ second LP takes a much darker and evolved approach to their music. Alice’s vocals, so prominent in previous tracks, takes on a new dimension and becomes almost another element in the bigger noise-scape they are trying to present this time around. Filled with hypnotizing beats, repetitive synths, and an almost ethereal feel in some tracks to balance the harsh, abrasive character of others I must apologize and retract my first reaction to CC’s newest endeavor. Instead, I must thank my old loves for their growth and for presenting me with a soundtrack for those darker nights you spend lost in a smoke-filled room, the walls reverberating with that sinister beat.
Oh, and they sample Sigur Rós’s “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur” on “Year of Silence.” Total mind-boggle, right?
what are your thoughts?