Crystal Castles

The Toronto duo returns with an insanely great new album


CRYSTAL CASTLES Crystal Castles (II) (Last Gang) Rating: NNNN


Crystal Castles are a band at the height of their insanity.

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Hard to believe, considering all the meltdowns, tantrums and general lunacy of the two years since their debut – also self-titled – came out.

Even more hard to believe since the Toronto twosome stopped touring and holed themselves up for a time in an abandoned convenience store in Detroit and some church in Iceland to record.

But no. One listen to their hyper-anticipated sophomore and it’s obvious these guys are still certifiable. And that madness is what’s most memorable here.
Take their “song” Doe Deer: ninety-eight seconds of demonic “singer” Alice Glass sounding like a kitten being tortured, complete with a panic-inducing soundtrack. Gives new meaning to “crazy good.”
There are no natural party tracks, and the ones that come close too often go in directions too strange to captivate a room like their first record did. And that’s mostly due to the dark, screeching (mostly indecipherable, sometimes sung in German) vocals.
But it was a wise move not replicating what worked before. This is a weird, complex and mostly dark set of songs, and there’s a lot to like about it.
With this album, Crystal Castles have managed to make a captivating, fascinating swirl of beats, synths and screams. Parts are partying among green-laser beams in a packed Berlin club (check Baptism), other parts are like getting picked up off the sticky floor of the same dark, creepy club hours later (see Empathy). In other words, it’s an experience.
Top Track: Empathy[rssbreak]
The album came out on Friday (April 23) on iTunes only (iTunes download here), and will be released in stores on May 18.
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