Crystal Castles

8 August 2019

I can’t recall how long ago, but perhaps about a year ago, I stumbled across a song by Crystal Castles, a Toronto-based experimental electronic group. I fell in love with the song instantly – the song is called Vanished – and I soon discovered more of their music. Vanished is a song a little less drug-trip than most of their other tunes, hence it’s easier to like at first than their song Dolls, or the angry screeching and noise from some several of their 2010 album.

The duo consists of Alice Glass and Ethan Kath; Ethan runs the magical synthesizer, and Alice does the strange vocals. Alice is a very visual person, with an indescribable fashion taste – a mix of punk and stuff you’d find in grandma’s closet. Ethan’s a little simpler. They’re the type of band that you either hate or adore, but when you do adore them, you find that the songs take you away on a weird, fantastical trip.

I’ve listened to more than half the songs on their first album, and every single tune has a distinct feel and unique flavor. Some of the songs are the type you’d dance to, while some are the type that’ll cast you away to another dimension, and some are the type that would make you wonder “What the —- is this?”. If electronic music is your thing, I recommend checking out their songs Love and Caring, Vanished, Knights, Magic Spells, Restless, Crimewave, and Untrust Us. I’m certain that’s more than half of the songs on their first album, but you can’t label Crystal Castles with solely one or two examples.

The second album which came out this year is a little more pop-ish, still freaky and even more upbeat, but there’s more of Alice’s feminine voice, in a more angelic manner in some songs, and in an angrier manner in others. I think they might have been working with higher notes on this album, but their quality is the same or better. It’s as if I’m hearing more “layers” and a lot more going on in their newer songs. I recommend checking out songs like Celestica, Not in Love, Intimate, Pap Smear, and Year of Silence. If you want to burn a handful of brain cells away, listen to the angry screeching in songs like Doe Deer and the hyped up shouting in songs like Baptism. Your ears will feel like they’re on cocaine, without actually using cocaine.

Strangely being one of my favorite bands, I think a rather unknown duo like Crystal Castles deserves a review, for I honestly can’t think of any band that sounds just like them, and if anyone knows of a band that does, please let me know. But all in all, if you like some really weird music, or are open minded to hear some, I fully recommend trying Crystal Castles. There’s probably some mental side affects to it though, so don’t hold me liable if you lose IQ points, or some of your mental sanity.

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