Canadian electronic duo Crystal Castles returns with their third album eponymous named album, denoted as (III).
I have to disclose that I’m a huge fan and think Crystal Castles’ live shows are incredibly energetic. In terms of loudness, I think only Prodigy has topped them in pure volume. I strongly recommend seeming them in concert if you get the chance.
In attempt to differentiate (III)‘s sound from the previous albums, Crystal Castles used different instruments and effects. The results aren’t immediately noticeable, but I think the sounds are a lot smoother – less distortion is used, Alice Glass’s vocals don’t devolve into raw screams, and generally the songs are a little more subdued. The sound is definitely still Crystal Castles, but there is some movement away from the fast and hard punk influence toward something a bit more shoe-gazey.
I tended to gravitate toward the dancier Crystal Castles songs of previous albums, putting them on mixes and generally singing the duo’s praise. I did this while simultaneously keeping the harder tracks away from my friends who might shy away from this type of music. (III) seems to have fewer dance tracks compared to previous albums, but there are still some very catchy songs. I find myself listening to “Violent Youth” over and over. The single “Plague” is also a track I’ve much enjoyed, although I seem to have worn it out.
This might be the problem I have with (III) – it’s solid and enjoyable, but doesn’t do much to separate itself from Crystal Castle’s previous work. It’s essentially the same thumping bass lines and repetitive synthesizer sounds. Sometimes it really grates on me – like auditory jack hammering in my brain. I can’t quite put my finger on what’s changed from the previous albums – but what I really enjoyed seems to be missing from a lot of the songs found on (III).
One strength of (III) is the lyrics. Some of the vocal distortion makes it hard to understand what Alice Glass is saying, but song writing is well-done and sometimes profound. Check out the Crystal Castles site to read them.
Verdict: Crystal Castles’ (III) is worth a listen. I’d preview it before buying in case you’ve grown tired of the gritty electro-clash thing.
Stand-out Tracks: “Plague,” “Sad Eyes,” “Violent Youth”
Video from (III)
Crystal Castles (III)