Sound — 9
Crystal Castles have quite an impressive sound, Ethan really does a good job as an experimental electronic producer keeping things new and interesting. Some songs are upbeat and very fun, others could be kind of saddening and thought provoking. Overall, this album is more laid back and relaxing than their first release. Songs like "Celestica" are approached in a calm manner, and it was nice to hear Alice's voice in a more gentle tone like in that song. The intensity of the first album did carry over as well, in songs like "Doe Deer" and "Baptism". Ethan and Alice are a good combo, they do an excellent job of syncing their parts together, it seems to come natural to them. Alice has a great voice, whether she is using it somewhat aggressively, or if she's singing a slow song about a relationship. The album itself is like a slow taper in intensity. There are a couple of more energetic songs in the beginning of the song ("Doe Deer", "Fainting Spells", Baptism") and then the rest of the album is very calm, with some instrumental tracks that are quite ambient. Track list: 01. Fainting Spells - 2:44 02. Celestica - 3:48 03. Doe Deer - 1:38 04. Baptism - 4:13 05. Year of Silence - 4:54 06. Empathy - 4:11 07. Suffocation - 4:02 08. Violent Dreams - 4:35 (Instrumental) 09. Vietnam - 5:08 (Instrumental) 10. Birds - 2:31 11. Pap Smear - 3:43 12. Not in Love - 3:33 13. Intimate - 4:45 14. I Am Made of Chalk - 3:09 (Instrumental) Total: 52:54 Personnel: Ethan Kath - Instruments, production Alice Glass - Vocals Music videos were released for both "Celestica" and "Baptism".
Lyrics — 9
The way that Alice delivers the vocals makes them hard to pick apart. I went on their website to review what I was most likely interpreting, and they are usually reflections on what is happening to herself and the people around her. It seems more pessimistic than the music, but when you remember that they are an indie electronic band, it really isn't all that foreign. Alice, no matter what she sings, does have an amazing voice, though. Often, there are effects or filters applied to it as well, making it all the more interesting. I find myself constantly enjoying the different vocal styles she can produce, and her range is quite good as well.
Overall Impression — 8
After hearing the first album, I was expecting more intensity out of this one. As a result, I tend to get a little bored with it just over halfway through the album. I don't think the songs are not enjoyable, per-say, but I'd rather they blended more energetic tracks into the album. I still found myself enjoying a good amount of the slower songs, namely "Celestica", "Birds", and "Not in Love". "Baptism" is probably my favorite on the album, followed by "Celestica". Good album, best listened to in chunks while alternating other stuff, for me.