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Crystal Castles

4.1 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 April 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Different
  • ASIN: B00151A6QQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,376 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Untrust Us
  2. Alice Practice
  3. Crimewave
  4. Magic Spells
  5. xxzxcuzx
  6. Air War
  7. Courtship Dating
  8. Good Time
  9. 1991
  10. Vanished
  11. Knights
  12. Love And Caring
  13. Through The Hosery
  14. Reckless
  15. Black Panther
  16. Tell Me What To Swallow

Product Description

BBC Review

Let's call it electro-stentialism, or nouveu nihilism - that brand of desolate dance music that eschews pure hedonism in favour of a bleak wail into the abyss. Black Lips, Hearts Revolution; all that screechy 8-bit electro blah. Cynics might align Crystal Castles with this dark-hued, hipster scene. In truth, Crystal Castles have nothing to do with fashion. Their power lies in their ability to conjure visceral emotion from seemingly inhuman noise - namely Ethan Kath's digital distortions writhing under Alice Glass's agonised vocals.

Yes they're bleak, but this runs far beyond an ambition to be achingly 'now'. Crystal Castles, for all their associations with the Klaxons and Skins, transcend zeitgeist. To listen to this debut album is to be cast adrift in a vortex of deafening pain without a safety net. The sound they create on tracks like 'Vanished' - as lyrics skip by in a elliptical burble of indistinct enunciations - encapsulate the feeling of being young and alive in 2008. The doubt, the fear, the itchy self-destruct trigger finger; the feeling you could do anything in the world, but that nothing would ultimately mean anything. Crystal Castles simultaneously reject and embody Generation Empty Gesture and fire out a cacophony of existential impotence.

While their music may sound robotically callous, make no mistake about it - this electro escape hatch sends you into a turbulent atmosphere of profoundly human emotion. Mostly gnawing emptiness. A blast of famed studio experiment, Alice Practice, or the resolutely unintelligible Xxzxzcuzx Me prove that Crystal Castles are honouring nothing meaningful. It's a stark here and now, and you can forget that fuzzy embrace of musical heritage too. As instrumental splurge, 1991, demonstrates; this is the soundtrack for 20-something chaos seekers who grew up playing Ataris rather than listening to Kraftwerk.

Weilding sonic light and shade, tracks like Magic Spells downshift to mellow, ambient meloncholy. It's a loaded, chilled epic clocking in at 6 minutes, barely able to power its way through a lethargic dose of comedown hugs. With such sublime depth on offer, Crystal Castles marks a nuanced emotional territory that dance music never covered before. --Sophie Hammer

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--This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Feb. 2009
Format: Audio CD
Imagine this.

Imagine a time when our inveterate need to compare became less important
than sitting back in our easiest chair and listening without prejudice.

Sometimes the smallest things can be the best.

Crystal Castles defy logic and design in delivering these
sixteen extraordinarily compact little pieces to our door.

Ms Glass and Mr Kath are to be congratulated for both their vision
and economy in keeping this album tightly focussed and contained.

The buoyant rhythms are lovably naive, deceptively simple and thoroughly intriguing.
Sometimes delicate, sometimes blisteringly violent . Always interesting.
The vocal arrangements are elusive, ambiguous and strangely affecting.

Despite it's willful perversity there is, nonetheless, a finely honed pop
sensibility running all the way through the project like a golden seam.

Highlights include the joyful bouncy castle wonder that is 'Courtship Dating';
the bizarrely moving 'Knights'; the cheeky duck and bleep of 'Air War' and
the gently rolling wizardry of 'Magic Spells'.

Refreshingly uncompromising.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
I did enjoy this album, but I have to be honest, it wasn't quite what I was expecting! After reading other reviews and some interviews with the band (who seem VERRRY weird and subversive!) I was expecting something a lot edgier, more challenging and difficult. And while there is the occasional strange wig-out and the vocals are often quite harsh and dischordant, large parts of the album are fairly conventional melodic electronica, and really quite gentle at that, you could almost say ambient! In fact, I was sometimes reminded of Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works Volume 1', or of Boards of Canada during their more upbeat, melodic moments - especially because of their similar use of vocal samples. Not that there's anything wrong with that at all, just, as I said, not quite what I was expecting!
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Format: Audio CD
I have been waiting for this album for a while since the track "Air War" was included on a Rough Trade compilation from a couple of years ago. The Toronto duo have turned out a fascinating clutch of songs which reminds one of the best of leftfield electronica of the past thirty years. There are scrappy, distorted tracks such as "Alice Practice" that evokes a saturday afternoon in an amusement arcade and then there are smooth, haunting recordings such as the six minute "Magic Spells" and the single "Crimewave". Definitely a band to take notice of.
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Format: Audio CD
Crystal Castles' music is reminiscent of old 8 bit computer game music punctuated by vocals that are in equal parts angry and intense, and soft and melodic. The first 6 tracks play out really well, changing pace and tone with each track. Sadly however this album is far too long and 8 tracks follow that are mere filler and I begin to feel as if they have run out of ideas. Then follows track 15 which is a brighter and more in keeping with the first part of the album. Finally comes track 16 which is a welcome change and for the first time we hear some soft guitar.

In short, there is enough on here to make a very good 10 track album but unfortunately it outstays its welcome.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
totally love this album went straight out and got the other two
brilliant a fantastic mix of crazy beats and electronic wizardry
compared with some of the stuff thats out there this group should be massive
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hm. I expected more than this. Not from the album but from it's packaging. It's case is cheap, i was hoping for a proper jewel case. If otherwise, i would want it to be written in the description.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a curious album. On the whole it's got some reasonably good light housey/electro tunes, with a distinctive French disco influence. It's not a revolution in music, it won't blow your mind and make you re-consider everything you know to be music - but it's not bad as background music. If someone had recorded this in 2005, it might have been brilliant.

Unfortunately, it seems that an insane woman (possibly an ex, she seems very angry) has broken into the studio at nights and screamed over a few of the songs. Whether the three songs affected were left in by accident as nobody at the record company noticed, or they were included for some sort of post-something art expression, I'm not sure. Either way, if you delete the mp3s of the songs the album becomes a surprisingly bearable listen.

Also, someone seems to have mistakenly added a bit of DFA1979 to the end of the first song, but it sounds good nonetheless.

How curious indeed.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
Crystal Castles finished, not in a good way. This album will always be a mark in a very intense period of my life.
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