Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Crystal Castles

No blog would be complete without something on Crystal Castles; they seem to have been all over the Internet for a very long time. The debut album has only just arrived however, so I will add to the hype and review it. I have been listening to various songs and remixes of theirs for what seems like an age now. My favourites being the remix of Klaxons ‘Atlantic To Interzone’ and Good Shoes ‘Leni’ all of which can be found out there in the blogasphere I’m sure.

Crystal Castles self-titled debut be described as bleepy as fuck, yet I don’t see this as a hindrance. There sound is abrasive and enjoyable, the use of Gameboy sounds makes you wonder if they are going to get sued by Nintendo any time soon. The vocals are often screamed and sound not unlike CSS in places. There seems to be about three moods on this record: the slow and dirty number, the disco dance off and the hardcore bleep out. I really enjoy the slower numbers, as they have a wonderful mood and make the bleeps so sad and beautiful sounding. I say beautiful, yet the tunes rarely stray far from abrasive.
The stand out tracks for me are: Untrust Us, the opener that samples my beloved Death from Above 1979 (RIP), the vocal sample loops are spot on and make this into almost pop. Alice Practice is one of the aforementioned dirty slow numbers, with drawn out bleeps and growls from Glass the singer. Crimewave (Crystal Castles Vs. HEALTH) is so good and I have mentioned it previously on my blog here. HEALTH is one of my favourite new bands, this remix, revision or what ever you want to call it. Makes the beastly tribal noise into sweet pop hooks and bubbling synth lines. Xxzxcuzx Me can be filed under the hardcore bleep out section, it comes top of the class in its group mind. Air War is a nice disco number with moving bass and nonscence vocal loops hoping along, all in all quite enjoyable. Courtship Dating is my stand out track of the album by far. It’s the one that Timberland stole for his single Ayo Technology with Timberlake and 50 cent. It’s a real slow bleepy, and sweeping pop song. The mood and atmosphere is so good, it draws me in closer with every listen. Glass’ vocal squeal on top of Kath’s soundscapes in excellent fashion. Vanish is another disco style tune not unlike the others, yet has a nice growl to the synths, and samples Van She who make some dirty electro stompers. Black Panther should also get a honourable mention. Many of these tracks are however, filler. But not a disappointment, I don’t think any one expected a full album of bleeped out insanity that could float everyone’s boat all of the time. When it works it is outstanding, when it doesn’t it is bleepy as fuck. There has been so much hipster hype around Crystal Castles that a backlash will no doubt start soon. I’m going to defend this group for the joyful bleeps they bring. Plus what an excellent name Crystal Castles have it brings back nostalgia of She Ra and computer games of old.

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