Release Date: Mar 18, 2008
Record label: Last Gang
Genre(s): Indie, Electronic
No matter how much Crystal Castles insist they're named after She-Ra's fortress and not the 1983 arcade favorite, thanks to the Atari sound chips in their keyboards, their music evokes vintage video game soundtracks -- albeit ones that have been folded, spindled, and mutilated almost past recognition. On their self-titled debut, Crystal Castles (aka Ethan Kath and Alice Glass) hurl eight-bit bleeps, bloops, and noise as relentlessly as Space Invaders marching down a screen, turning these sounds into sometimes chaotic, sometimes moody synth pop with a jagged edge. Though their low-res synths can't help but sound nostalgic (and song titles like "Air War" and "Reckless" sound like forgotten games), Crystal Castles are fresher, more complex, and much less gimmicky than might be expected, especially for those familiar with only the band's singles.
Incredibly enough, the supposed “nu-rave” subgenre is still looking for a face. As if the Klaxons weren’t sufficient, Crystal Castles are the latest unlucky successors to the nu-rave center stage, and it's sort of fitting, seeing that their remixes of Klaxons, Bloc Party and the like helped build the Crystal Castles name. But unlike Klaxons, they play the role of the antihero, appearing mysterious and cantankerous in the press, bombastically claiming no influences.
Review Summary: Simple, catchy synth-pop that brings back memories of the Super Nintendo.Featuring vocalist Alice Glass and multi-instrumentalist Ethan Fawn, Crystal Castles really made a name for themselves with their self-titled sophomore release. Sporting seventeen full length tracks spanning over an hour long “Crystal Castles” is like a party that never comes to an end.Right out of the gate “Crystal Castles” reminds me of a soundtrack for a cheap, old school NES game. Nearly every track on the album is littered with polished keyboard buzzes and retro samples.