Top 5: Crystal Castles
National Music Reviews
Crystal Castles = A Place to Bury Strangers + Grimes
I remember the first time I heard Crystal Castles. I was traveling through the Internet, lost in the back pages of Myspace, and there they were. “Alice Practice” began playing, and I was hooked. Eight years later, they have continued to launch me into another realm every time I put them on. Crystal Castles’ third release, III is no different. Ethan Kath begins with a heart-heavy siren—your chest caves as your ears ache to understand what is coming. You feel yourself stepping onto a spaceship, and, before you know it, you are counting down, beat by beat, three, two, one … blastoff. Vocalist Alice Glass’s signature, scathing voice yells, “I am the plague,” and you succumb to the darkness that they breathe. There’s a gloomy ecstasy about this album, similar to their previous albums, I and II. Kath recorded the lo-fi, sloshy sounds on tape, and married them with electro madness. Each track pulls from every color of the spectrum, and your brain shuts down because you cannot comprehend what is happening, but you keep moving. From the starchy hip hop beat of “Pale Flesh” that has been pulled through wires and twisted into an epileptic video game, to the obnoxious noise of “Insulin” that you struggle to listen to, but listen to again, III is nothing short of a space trek soundtrack. “Telepath” begins the descent of the journey, leading you into “Mercenary.” which takes you through expanded wormholes, locking in a sense of euphoria, and down into the end of III. But just like “I Am Made of Chalk” at the end of II, “Child I Will Hurt You” slows down just enough to release you. Your heartbeat slows, and a rush of blood flows into your head. As you pull your headphones off, you realize that you are not actually locked in an insane asylum … and then you put your headphones on and do it all over again.