[Fiction / Casablanca / Universal Republic]
The electro duo’s third album, entitled (III), is an honest attempt at capturing the anxiety towards suffering on tape. And interestingly enough “(III)” is Ethan Cath’s first attempt at solo-ing a production, who has a “strictly no computers” ethic, preferring to put the process straight to tape. This ethic may be conducive to the album’s high strung and hopeless feeling within. There is no way to escape the crushing intensity and anxiety of this album, even when it becomes apparent the duo is well aware of its prowess in EDM circles. This awareness is precisely what makes Crystal Castles so honest and keeps them afloat in a genera that seemed to be birthed from their initial release. The high energy and rave-like beats are thrown through this filter of Crystal Castle’s dystopian design, but EDM is always within the periphery.
Crystal Castles’ unique quality comes to surface, most transparently; on the tracks “Sad Eyes” and “Telepath” were it would seem no amount of energy was spared in adding layer over layer of expensive, frosty, synth to hold-fast the over-powering tension from the piercing drum and echo of Glass’ angelic shrieking. Much of Glass’ lyricism seems to come from a place of higher understanding, or at least we are led to believe she is infallible, in her attempts to both sooth and shock her audience. In each track it seems Glass is both frustrated and endearing towards her audience that is unable to comprehend the crushing weight of imperfection and grinding suffering that is rampant in modernity. Or, much like a mother cradling her idealistic son in the aftermath of his attempts to change the world for the better.
Written by Jerod Greenisen, Radio K volunteer.