Cougar Microbes Top Albums of 2012: Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (iii)
Crystal Castles returned with what is essentially their third self-titled release in four years. Following up their hit spewing 2008 debut and it’s booming 2010 follow up ‘Crystal Castles (ii)‘ would have had other bands in a cold sweat but Ethan Kath and Alice Glass never looked likely to fail.
opting to ditch their digital equipment at home in exchange for vintage synths and battered tape recorders the duo decamped to Prague for the recording process. These drastic changes may have helped to get the creative juices flowing but haven’t compromised the duo’s core aesthetic.
Still, while (iii)’ is sonically aligned with it’s predecessors what it does offer is a human warmth that at times was lost under their synth bombardment. The likes of David Guetta and Tiesto would sell a limb to produce these loops yet Kath succeeds in infusing them with enough venom to puzzle mainstream audiences.
Perhaps the biggest change is vocal presence in the whole affair. Glass is one hell of a performer and there are plenty of occasions for her to demonically screech and howl over edgy keyboard stabs but unexpectedly many of the highlights are provided with her deceitfully cherubic sung melodies.
With countless imitators lurking around it was inevitable that the shock factor that has come with past releases may have been slightly diluted. What you get instead is Crystal Castles refining a sinister sound that is very much their exclusive property.