Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles

RIYL: Klaxons, Health, Ghosthustler, She-Ra

I was discussing new music with a friend of mine at Waffle House a few nights ago, some of you might know him as a Mr. Ben Vaughn. He’s an incredibly smart guy though ultimately misled and confused. When I brought up that I had been listening to Crystal Castles recently, I received Ben’s disapproval routine: the grimaced look on the face, the sinking of the head into the shoulders, and the descending hum. It’s all as though someone had stabbed him in the spleen. When Ben and I are talking about music, this routine is usually followed by my defense of something and him continuing to be pigheaded. According to Ben, Crystal Castles is “… such a remix band…” and, as much as this statement bothered me at first, it’s totally true.

CC’s real charm lies in their ability to creatively de-construct. Don’t get me wrong, their album is r8 good, but I don’t know if its replay value will be near that of their Klaxons, Liars, and (omg) HEALTH remixes. CC’s strong songs are a total kick in the ear. The lows growl like a blown speaker, but not the “I got this car from my great aunt” blown speakers, its more like the “Atari-meets-Robocop-meets-Terminator-meets-Korg-meets-Bose and a party ensues” blown speakers. The high pitched rings, dings, beeps, and whistles are indulgently ear offending and Alice Glass’s vocals can be as catty and rough as a drunken feminist sailor (“xxzxcuzx me”) or as arousing and seductive as… well… a drunken feminist cheerleader (“Crimewave”). At times the album can have what I call the “techno effect”, achieving something cool and catchy then looping it over for what feels like 5 minutes, but for the most part it moves along pretty well.

Songs like “xxzxcuzx me”, “Alice Practice”, and “Love and Caring” are particularly exciting to me because of their sheer energy. In a music industry where anyone with an acoustic guitar and a computer can release a boring folk album, Fire and Lazers Are a Breath of Fresh Air.* I mean, I like a Songs:Ohia song just as much as anyone, but sometimes I need a soundtrack to my intensely epic life. Now here’s an album to suit me driving 80mph, swerving between cars, doing jumping jacks, running up stairs, punching my grandmother. The crazy things we do, right?

* I would like to announce the Fall ’08 release of my first full length folk album: Fire and Lazers Are a Breath of Fresh Air

Crystal Castles- Crystal Castles