ALBUM REVIEW: Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (II)





Crystal Castles debut eponymous LP respectively garnered them massive attention amongst electro indie circles. Alice Glass's noisy punk vocals accompanied by spaced out gothic electronica differentiates the duo from other outfits like HEALTH or Salem. Though their debut record is devoted to experimentation, producer Ethan Kath maintains a healthy balance of noise rock and dark synth pop. More importantly, his most relentless dedication on the album is to provide songs that you can completely lose yourself in, until you're dancing uncontrollably, oblivious of your surroundings. Crystal Castles' sophomore record has entirely the same premise. Heck, it even keeps the same name.

More commonly known as Crystal Castles II, the album thrives off the duo's knack for combining upbeat disco pop with haunted "cult" music. Crystal Castles show a lot of growth on this album; there's less distortion and more fluid, coherent melodies. What is most noticeable is how Alice Glass has matured as a vocalist. There is an abundance of screaming and yelling on Crystal Castles' first record to the point where it feels like gibberish. The songs on CCII are more subtle; Glass's vocals have become delicate and unhurried.

The first single,"Celestica," is synth heavy, accompanied by eerie, desolate lyrics. Glass's voice sounds fragile and broken: "Have they cleansed you with chloride/and scrubbed behind the knees/has your body been hollowed by the breeze." It sounds like Bat For Lashes meets Hercules & Love Affair. Though "Celestica" is bass heavy, tracks like "Pap Smear," “Empathy," and "Suffocation" are what's destined for the dance floor; explosive, mind bogging dance grooves that range in dynamic and possess you instantaneously. Out of the 14 songs on the album, only on three does Glass become louder and more aggressive like she often did on the first Crystal Castles. But she performs them with such grace and a new found swagger that has made this electronic ensemble virtually unstoppable.

84 — [Rating Scale]