Sunday, December 14, 2008

#4 Album of 2008: Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles
Last Gang Records.

I consider myself lucky that my first listen to Crystal Castles was their music, not their press. Had I gone into ‘Alice Practice’ expecting Atari sound-effects and fanatical vocals, this Toronto duo might’ve struck me as a novelty band, using video game sounds as their schtick for recognition. And maybe that’s the way Crystal Castles was supposed to play out. What this fully-loaded debut proves is quite the opposite, displaying a range of new-wave dancefloor cuts, thrash batterings and deranged pop that is too infectious and accomplished to be a mere fad.

Most exciting of all is that, like their own twisted Meet the Beatles, Crystal Castles hint at several anticipated avenues they could travel next. After this album’s buffet of varied styles, will their sophomore effort focus on the instrumental zen of ‘Magic Spells’, the club-chic sweat of ‘Vanished’ or something as eloquent as ‘Tell Me What To Swallow’, its reverb and whispers lost in late-night guitar strums. The future is theirs, however they choose it.

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