SPUN: Crystal Castles

By Jordyn Marcellus

One of the most horrifically pretentious things to hear is someone going on about the electronica genre. Moby’s Play album is considered electronica, as is Aphex Twin’s entire back catalogue–calling it a wide and disparate genre has become cliche. Crystal Castles’ self-titled LP is a breath of fresh air into the electronic genre with their 8-bit synthesizers–in fact, the soundboard to an old Atari 5200 is lodged within one of the group’s synthesizers–and scalpel-sharp electronic chirps that set the group apart from the other kids with Korg keyboards. The best way to approach the record is to disregard any thoughts of it trying to be an album experience. Those who care about cohesion will scream absolute bloody murder, as there’s almost no similarity between the tracks. With wild variation from dark, death-disco tunes like “1991” to mad-sounding, punked-out swirling dance tracks like “Love and Caring,” Crystal Castles are playing more with the concept of sound and style instead of trying to make an epic listening experience from start-to-finish.

This doesn’t mean that these tracks aren’t awesome throughout. There’s only one song that seems to fall flat on its face and that’s album closer “Tell Me What to Swallow,” a down-tempo track with vocals and a single guitar echoing and swirling into a quiet crescendo. While not a sour note, the album ending so flatly is an annoyance more than anything.

Because of its lack of cohesion, people may be a little hesitant to purchase Crystal Castles. Worry not. This is the premiere CD for the breaking-in of a new strobe light, an attempt to see if the latest glow-paint actually works or even a meth-induced orgy.