Sound: Synth pop. You either love it or you hate it. There really isn't much of an in between. Synth pop and it's many subdirectories have become ever popular to the world of nightclubs and dance parties, and to some of us rock and metal-bound folk, this type of music is absolute torture. In fact, many of us wouldn't be caught dead nodding our heads to these computer-generated tunes. But for those music lovers whose eardrums were gifted with a diverse taste for tunage, than this new release may be right up your alley. Electronic experimental band Crystal Castles first began making ripples in the music world with the release of their 2008 self-titled debut album, which combined the magical pop power of synth with twisting female vocals and lyrics, and was soon hailed by some critics to be one of the greatest albums of the entire decade.
This Canadian duo saw renowned fame once again in 2010 with another album, titled II, which was also met with generally positive feedback and moderate success. Now, Crystal Castles has returned to 2012, this time with a third studio album, this one titled (gasp!) III. Overall, I found this album to stay to true to it's two predecessors. Mind bending synthesizers, head jerking electronic drum beats, and murmuring vocals are definitely in surplus. But there also appears to be a little more depth to these new tunes, as compared to Crystal Castles' earlier releases. Probably because the band traded in their old equipment for something shiner, in the intention of giving their new record a more unique and previously unchartered sound. For example, if you give the album's first single "Plague" a listen, the multiple layers of electronic sound and warping vocals is almost like taking a wild journey through the mind. Although this new music experience is a bit wilder, that doesn't necessarily mean better. Like I said earlier, it's not ideal for those of us who base our musical tastes around raging electric guitars and thunderous drum beats, but at the same time, it's not completely horrible, either. // 5
Lyrics: When it comes to Alice Glass' singing on this new record, I honestly don't know how to rate it, or really even describe it. Alice's singing throughout most of the album is consistently muffled behind the galloping electronic drum beats and thunderous synthesizers, and the only times that you can really hear her voice at all is when she's nearly screaming at you! When she's screaming, you can't hardly make out what she's saying, and when she isn't screaming her words morph into a blur, so deciphering lyrics from each song is pretty much impossible. // 4
Overall Impression: When it comes down to it, III has Crystal Castles doing exactly what Crystal Castles does best: experimental electronic synth pop. This time around, they've added a little more depth to their music thanks to newer equipment, but for the most part it's the same song and dance from Crystal Castles. So, when it comes to my overall impression with this album, I will try to stay positive. For the music lover out there who was already a fan of the band's earlier releases, you should be able to easily fall in love with their new disc. If you're the music fan who is looking for a incredibly diverse musical experience, then should definitely give this album a listen. // 5
- Lou Vickers (c) 2012