Tuesday 31 July 2012


I was going to hold back on posting this, but I was just told by someone that they heard it on the radio. As the YES/NO blurb reads, it's all about new stuff. Gotta drop it like it's hot yo.

And this is as hot as a witch holding hot iron rods burning at the stake, I have to say. That is: hot and scary.

Crystal Castles have gone from strength to strength. Starting off with their self-titled debut, the duo - Ethan Kath and Alice Glass - began with near-industrial, electronic noise music. This is essentially electro with a DIY/punk aesthetic. It was all very dystopian, all very like broken robots in a grotty 8-bit club playing chiptune rave music. It was different, brutal, energetic. Key tracks for this sound were the devastating 'Alice Practice', the mental 'XXZXCUZX Me', and the painfully good 'Courtship Dating', a reworking of a HEALTH song.

But beginning with their second self-titled album (referred to as Crystal Castles II), they began to veer towards the dark side. People call it drone, witch house, goth trance, blah blah blah. It is what it is and it's dark and electronic, moody and trance-like. Ethan Kath seemed to have ditched his modified synthesiser (he stuck a chip from an Atari soundboard in there to get those bubbly bleeps you hear on their first album) in favour of a certain, piercing Dracula-organ-cum-heavy-trance sound.

And, really, it's no different with their latest: 'Plague'.

In fact, it is a bit different. It's actually more eerily gothic than before. Beginning with a heady bit of drone that wouldn't sound out of place in the basically unlistenable Mater Suspiria Vision's repertoire. However, this soon turns into a distortion-laden slice of energy, complete with Alice's trademark yelps and screams in the background. The quieter parts of this song have seen Alice also sing melodically, something I've never heard before. It's a nice change and a different dynamic - something the duo can use to sculpt very different songs this time around.

The beat is great: though the kick is crazy, the snare is slow and leaves the rhythm hanging in the air, swaying to and fro above the breathy synth work of Ethan. There is some amount of noise and industrialism in here, as with their first album, with the section towards the end of the song including what sounds like a sample of an angle grinder or something as equally sickening yet satisfying to hear.

This song makes you clench your teeth and fit on the floor like you just don't care. Gone is the mashed potato, the twist, even Soulja Boy's Superman dance. This marks the rise of the epileptic. It's all I can imagine when I listen. Kind of like a cross between moshing and rigor mortis.

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More Crystal Castles music on their SoundCloud
Crystal Castles on Facebook
Crystal Castles official site
Here's the Wikipedia page for Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles Youtube channel
Crystal Castles... Myspace
Follow Crystal Castles on Twitter
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