Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles
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Label: Last Gang Records
Duration: 51:54
Genre: Electronica

Electronic music is constantly ready to evolve, a point Crystal Castles seem determined to prove on their self-titled debut. They come from a heavily retro/electro place in the spectrum, wallowing in bits of debris from the ‘80s: video game bleeps and pixilated sounds found deep in the Casio archive. But it’s all twisted up, prodded past redundancy or homage to a state that feels genuinely innovative. How do they manage this? Part of the answer is in Alice Glass’s vocals, which are endlessly malleable; she can punk-scream her way through blizzards of squeaky noise ("Alice Practice," "Love and Caring") or get cute ("Good Time") without breaking character. But the real secrets to their reinvention, ironically enough, are in old-school details like melody, hooks and unpredictable, fun songwriting. All the boops, bleeps and whirs in the world can’t distract from the catchiness of songs like "Black Panther" and "Air War." Still, it must be said that listening to the record is vaguely unnerving at times; you feel a bit like Pac-Man stuck in his blocky maze. And yeah, some songs stretch invention into irritation (the unlistenable "Xxzxcuzx Me"). On the other hand, it never fails to be interesting and repeated listens smooth out the edges just enough to appreciate the band’s careful shading and confidence. So open your mind, enjoy the rampant creativity, and don’t eat the ghosts until they turn blue. –Matthew Cooke

Untrust Us3:06
Alice Practice2:41
Magic Spells6:06
Xxzxcuzx Me1:53
Air War4:12
Courtship Dating3:30
Good Time2:55
Love and Caring2:18
Through the Hosiery3:06
Black Panther2:57
Tell Me What to Swallow2:16
Original Release: 2008-03-15
Composer: Ethan Kath, Alice Glass, Death From Above 1979, Health, Luciano Berio, James Joyce, Drinking Electricity
Producer: Squeak E. Clean, Ethan Kath
UPC: 60270096219, 5413356590050, 5413356590029