Crystal Castles

III

Universal Republic/Casablanca

Nov 29, 2012 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


 

Electropop duo Crystal Castles have turned their focus here toward themes of violence and oppression; it can be seen in incendiary song titles such as “Violent Youth,” “Mercenary,” and “Wrath of God,” and most prominently in the stark album cover, which features an award-winning photo of a Yemeni mother cradling her son who was injured in an anti-government protest. Alice Glass and Ethan Kath are feeling the weight of the world, and III is their response.   

Recorded in Warsaw, Poland, and produced entirely by Kath, III does indeed have a different sound than the band’s first two full-lengths. The duo tossed out their computers, opting instead to record directly to tape; this makes the tracks feel a bit more organic and not as pristinely-calculated, but also less clear. Not that Crystal Castles were ever a band to put their lyrics in the forefront—Glass’ distorted barks and coos are a highlight of their first two albums and live sets—but any political message the band intends in III is lost under layers of digital dirt. What’s left is moodier and muddier, overly dark and rarely danceable, with little of the excitement or energy we’re used to from this band. (www.crystalcastles.com)

 

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