Nothing Is Real
Nov 04, 2013 Web Exclusive
According to Wikipedia, Crystal Antlers' original line-up of Kevin Stuart, Errol Davis and Jonny Bell worked together as chimney sweeps around the time of the band's formation. This is apt, because the production on their fifth LP Nothing Is Real leaves it sounding dusty, grimy, and dull, as though being played in a cold, dank, bricked-in claustrophobic hole out of sight but not quite out of mind.
The result is that the moments where the band does try something a bit more out of left field are neutered. With a glorious Albini-esque production, tracks such as "We All Gotta Die" or the ominous "Persephone" could have sounded like a lush, slowed-down version of The Horrors. Instead, the subtle guitar tremolos are squished to brown in the speakers, and the result is shoegaze sans any effects.
The band can't be entirely absolved of blame for this ruined album. Much of it is a plodding chug-along; "Pray" and "Paper Thin" are amongst the worst offenders for not being so much meat and potatoes as sticky gruel. There are odd, almost-redeemable moments present but, recorded as it is, the album had no chance. (www.crystalantlers.com)
Author rating: 4/10