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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 4 March 2009
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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on 13 April 2008
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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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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on 17 May 2016
'Tell me what to swallow' was the haunting theme to the BBC Survivors series, and having found it, I had to have it. The other track samples sounded interesting so I bought the whole album. The rest contrast massively with this uniquely stunning and disturbing piece, consisting of some excellent grunting synth leads and screaming processed vocals. Some of it is very melodical, drawing from many influences including (I'm pretty sure) John Foxx and various arcade games! Very danceable. Not sure I like all of it so only 4 stars, but I'd certainly give TMWTS 5, or even 6 stars. The rest is growing on me.
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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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on 7 December 2013
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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on 30 January 2009
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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on 20 February 2010
I first heard about Crystal Castles through brilliant teenage drama Skins where after a traumatic incident involving one of the character's fathers, he was caught up in an emotional battle that was escalating and when in a club Crystal Castles' Alice Practice played and the mixed used of lyrics fused together with such an emotional storyline made the moment and music memorable and me, not particularly aware of such a diverse electro dance group, decided to check out this album and was not disappointed in the slightest.

This 2008 album collates tracks of various tones and meanings. From that enigmatic hard hitter to the slowly paced but verbally eccentric `Magic Spells' The Castles have tackled different styles with their funky outlook to music. What is striking is their ability to convey such strong meanings through using difficult to interpret vocals along with slow and fast moving rhythms and instruments, juxtaposing significant elements to generate a vibrant and unique flavour of music. I certainly have never heard such a band and after enjoying this collection pursued more similar stylings but for me, this was where it all started and the American duo have yet to be topped.

`Untrust us' is an unusual searching sound which is followed by Alice Practice, the shouty hard hitter that seems to get better with every listen. `Courtship dating' is a knockout an unusual almost positive sounding track that when I googled the lyrics left my eyebrows raised. An unusual antidote to the premature outlook on self harm, if you can call the song that. There are many meanings to gather from their collection and another reason I love this band is because they are very hard to pin point and generalize because they are so various with their choices in sounds, lyrics and purposes, and these reasons, among many more, are worth checking this album out.

9/10
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on 29 November 2008
Well, I will not deny that this album interested me when I first heard 'Alice Practice' at a mates house. A great song, edgy and yet very emotional, quite a punch in the stomach! It seemed finally a band was doing something to break down the barriers between pop and electronica.

Three listenings to the album have left me somewhat confused, though I like the riffs and melodies (and can even stand the video game sounds that make them up) I found that the woman made the whole thing a bit too ridiculous at times. Her voice too often competes with the noise from the DJ, in a bad way, so that you can hardly ever understand what she is saying. This forces you to listen to the mediocre tunes instead which are not where the music's strengths lie. The whole album is split in this way between her angsty, discordant lyrics and the jingly sound of the video game music. It truly disorientates you at times (in a bad way) and leaves the album sounding like two, slightly weak and unfinished albums in your mind rather than one whole and complete album.

Worse still the few tracks which get you interested are often brutally interuppted by a stupid bleeping beginning to another track. It make the ordeal of listening to the album almost unbearable.

The lack of synergy between the proto punk singer and the oddball electronica music makes this a below par album and three stars is for the risk they took recording this (that is if it was a risk). I can only hope they can utilise a wider range of sounds next time to complement her voice, then we might see their true potential as a band.
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on 19 August 2010
Came across a few tracks on Youtube recently, and loved them so much I bought 2 albums :)
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