First time around, Crystal Castles managed to fuck off most who dealt with them. Still, armed with ‘Alice Practice’ and that HEALTH remix
their petulant paddies were almost justified.
They sounded brutal, uncompromising, completely original and just as exciting.
Then they released their more-ambient-thanexpected debut album and the feet-stamping and cancelled shows grew increasingly unwarranted.
Not wanting to look silly, most of us continued to give them the benefit of the doubt.
In terms of recorded material, this second album (also self-titled in characteristically difficult fashion) tells a similar tale to the first,
only heard with ears now tired of the glitchthrash model, here still very much in its 1.0 state.
Where ‘Alice Practice’ would have been, ‘Fainting Spells’ opens ‘Crystal Castles’, not ranting over video game zaps but wailing in a mess of static and menacing feedback.
And yeah, it’s enough of a thumper to grab your attention, just before airy, pop single ‘Celestica’ castrates the Toronto duo by sounding like the kind of ethereal, dreamy house that revisits Club 18-30 each summer.
‘Year Of Silence’ – a near twin of the band’s ‘Crimewave’ remix that speaks g i bberish inbackward tongues – is genuinely brilliantthough, as would ‘Doe Deer’ be if its deranged organ riff
(inspired by Metronomy’s ‘You Could Easily Have Me’ and ordered to leave no man, woman or child alive) hadn’t been needlessly recorded on an iPhone and constantly in the red.
The result of such a decision, while welcome in its desperation to dirty the more overtly pop elements of this album, means that Alice Glass’
retches and banshee shrieks are almost drowned out by the speaker-blown
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