As far as debut albums go, 2008’s Crystal Castles was one of this decade’s most striking. Sounding quite unlike anything that came before, its 16 tracks cobbled together a variety of electronic sounds using rock dynamics, producing an electro-punk record that was as compelling as it was combustible. Eight-bit chirps, blasts of static and distorted synths collided violently with harsh, overdriven beats and Death From Above 1979 samples, while Alice Glass’ effects-laden shrieks kept the listener transfixed. It was a volatile record and one sensed that it would not be easily duplicated, even by its own architects.
Every punk goes pro one day, and Crystal Castles are no exception. Upon emergence a couple of years back, Alice Glass and Ethan Kath came and glared at the world with the cynicism of Lydon, the nihilism of The Germs, and – in their harder moment – the brutal electronics of Atari Teenage Riot. Debut album Crystal Castles was a belligerently stitched together mix of chipcore fury, vaguely Satanic electro-pop and meandering ambient workouts. Even five years ago it might have only found an audience of about five 'troubled' European teens. In the heady d
ays of 2008, however, teenage lifestyle brands Skins and NME cheerily latched onto ‘Alice Practise’ – CC’s most brutal, fuck-the-lot-of-you moment – and packaged it as an essential anthem for Top Shop shod-youth. There’s nothing really wrong with that, but when your harshest musical moment has been installed as soundtrack to a scene in a teen soap in which two boys get in touch with their feelings, and when you appear on said teen soap playing said song, it’s going to look sussed if you play the rebel card on your second album.
|# 18 -||Drowned in Sound|
|# 33 -||musicOMH|
|# 31 -||NME|
|# 15 -||One Thirty BPM|
|# 34 -||Pitchfork|
|# 29 -||Pretty Much Amazing|
|# 6 -||Slant|
|# 21 -||Spin|
|# 12 -||Stereogum|
|# 30 -||NPR Listeners (Mid Year)|
|# 65 -||Pitchfork (2010-2014)|
|# 129 -||Pitchfork: The People's List|