Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (II) (2010) [Vinyl]

Title: Crystal Castles (II)
Year Of Release: 2010
Label: Universal Motown
Genre: Electronic, Synthpop, Witch house, Experimental
Quality: FLAC (tracks 24bit/96kHz)
Total Time: 52:28
Total Size: 1.19 Gb

1. Fainting Spells (2:42)
2. Celestica (3:48)
3. Doe Deer (1:36)
4. Baptism (4:12)
5. Year Of Silence (4:52)
6. Empathy (4:08)
7. Suffocation (4:01)
8. Violent Dreams (4:34)
9. Vietnam (5:06)
10. Birds (2:26)
11. Pap Smear (3:42)
12. Not In Love (3:32)
13. Intimate (4:44)
14. I Am Made Of Chalk (3:06)

Crystal Castles return with a second self-titled album, embracing a more direct pop sound while retaining the sharp edges that made their debut so compelling.
After all of the awful shit Crystal Castles did in the wake of their success, a whole lot of people hoped their new album would be terrible. Sorry, haters: 2010’s Crystal Castles improves on their (also self-titled) debut in nearly every way. The latest from the Toronto-based electro duo is reminiscent of the jump forward taken by Deerhunter between Cryptograms and Microcastle, or Fuck Buttons from Street Horrrsing to Tarot Sport. Like those acts, Crystal Castles have reconciled with their detractors instead of running from them. By staying true to themselves, they’ve created a more focused, propulsive, and satisfying follow-up.

Some listeners might miss the sonic shock that came from hearing the sub-zero Italo chill of “Magic Spells” sequenced next to the 8-bit electrocution of “Xxzxcuzx Me”, but clashes like those wore out their welcome over the span of 16 tracks. Here, Crystal Castles embrace continuity and broaden their dynamic range beyond the primitive loops that once constituted the foundations of their songs. The core elements of first single “Celestica”, for example, are pure shoegaze, but the waves of distortion that scrape across its chorus squash any concerns that the duo has gone soft. For a band known for its harsh midrange, this record reveals a surprising amount of depth in headphones.

Crystal Castles are far more pop than before, too, which was probably an inevitable move, but hardly a bad one. Like “Celestica”, “Suffocation” and “Empathy” mix fanged distortion and sparkly synths, while tracks like “Vietnam”, “Not in Love”, “Intimate”, and the rave-tinged “Baptism” arm the record with loads of could-be singles. But despite this shift toward beauty and clarity, Crystal Castles still rip into some punishing, epileptic moments, like the distorted bass riff on “Birds” and the shredded brutality of “Doe Deer”. The fluidity of the music is matched by Alice Glass’ frequently manipulated vocals, a showcase for someone too often pigeonholed as a bratty screamer. She sounds at times like everything from a Leslie guitar (“Empathy”) to a *Cloverfield-*style monster (“I Am Made of Chalk”). The obvious comparison is the Knife’s Silent Shout, but where Karin Dreijer-Andersson often manipulates her voice to play characters, Glass is just as disturbing for her dehumanization.



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