Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Crystal Castles - Plague

It’s not an unusual or worrying absence when Crystal Castles are missing on the music radar, but more of an exciting adventure, like being led blindfolded into the unknown, being careful not to trip on the trail of empty bottles of Jack Daniels left behind in their midst like the Hansel & Gretel of indie electro.

The next stop on their sonic journey, ‘Plague’, opens with ethereal yet tortured synthesisers that whilst are reminiscent of the haunting of the deathly reverb that distinctly define their style, sound more apocalyptic than ever before. As the beats start to pulsate with an ominous sense of foreboding, the song begins the soundtrack to the recurring nightmare that much of the witch-house vibes that ‘Crystal Castles’ embody seems to conjure.

Whilst the step up from self titled debut album sees them move from a raving in games arcades to graveyards, ‘Plague’ almost takes you to the depths of hell itself. There is no remarkable change in sound or style but more a development on the direction in which they continue to head in. Whilst Alice Glass’ vocals are, as usual indecipherable and suffocated below a thick layer of distortion, there is less of a coarseness to them, and a more subdued shrillness.

The main source of disappointment here is the anticlimax after the euphoric rush of ecstasy, the song makes no effort in dropping back down to what seems like a lazy garageband copy & paste job on Ethan’s part.

It’s a surefire target for hipster cynics, arguably proof that ‘Crystal Castles’ haven’t got much left to offer following the demise of the 8-bit electro fad that they seem to have outlived but in Ethan Kath’s own words: “There’s no departure. We like how we sound. We don’t wanna change.” 

Bella Roach

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