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Crystal Castles [II]
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£5.82+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 26 November 2017
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on 14 September 2013
OK if you a fan otherwise not the best out there. Probably best to save your money for something better.
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on 29 April 2011
Crystal Castles are an interesting band and I've liked both the albums so far.

My only issue is do they really need to be almost an hour long?! If both records lost a good quarter of an hour they would have a far bigger impact, especially the second one which tails off slightly and feels a bit drawn out.
(I don't have a problem with epic albums but I feel these guys possibly don't have enough ideas to maintain this sort of running time yet.)

However, when these guys hit their stride they really produce some fresh and exciting ideas. I'll be interested to see where they take this next.
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on 10 March 2013
There is a lot to like about this album. It's cool as a frozen cucumber, while still managing to be lively and energising. Celestica will make you feel like you are cucooned in spider's silk, or like you are Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt and completely mute. It is seductive and suffocating at the same time. On the other end of the spectrum, Baptism is an angry, ripping musical eqivalent of Van Gogh chopping his own ear off, and is quite brilliant.

However, there are some duff notes. Fainting Spells is terrible as an opening track. It may be intended as something 'experimental' and 'edgy', but it just comes across as a load of annoying, screechy noise. It is not a pleasant or enlightening experience to be thrust into an album with bleeding ears and general confusion. On the other hand, Not in Love is easy, polished listening but makes one feel slightly cheated. It is all shimmer and no substance. The other problem with the album is that, although there are a lot of good tracks, and although some consideration has gone into the ordering of the tracks (Unlike in [I]), it doesn't feel like a coherent whole. Crystal Castles only manage that in [III]. [II] is a collection of songs, some of them very good, that have some connection to one another but do not form a single body of work.

That said, it is definitely an album worth listening to, and I would recommend it.
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on 4 February 2011
This album is quite unique, unlike anything else I've ever heard. If I really had to compare them to anyone, I'd say Crystal Castles are a little like the Prodigy in their early days - think 'No good (start the dance)' and you'll have a rough idea of what to expect.

In general, I like the album, though some of the songs are a bit samey in my opinion. There is 1 song (I forget the name as I listen to this in the car) which is pretty awful as it sounds like a mashup mix of samples that just don't work together. If you buy this album, you'll know which one I mean! I actually purchased this because I kept hearing 'Not in love' on the radio and I just loved it. However, this album does not contain the version I was accustomed to, the version featuring Robert Smith from the Cure...VERY disappointed, as the album version is nowhere near as good. Instead, it features a synth'd voice (as do many of the songs) which is okay, but nothing like Mr Smith's excellent vocals on the single version. So if like me you wanted that song, either buy it as an MP3 download or wait for the day this album gets re-released with the PROPER version on it.

Overall, I'd say this album is most likely to appeal to early 90's ravers and anyone else who appreciates that sort of music.
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on 1 August 2010
My first exposure to CC was via the tracks Untrust Us and Crimewave that were made available through a free Nine Inch Nails Tour ep download. I liked those very much, but nothing prepared me for absorbing the entirety of this gem.

Minimal yet densely layered, CC have crafted what has already become my favourite album of the year, and possibly one of my all time faves.

Opener - Fainting Spells is a disorientating beginning that gives way to the quite beautiful and melodic Celestica. Then abruptly Doe Deer assaults with its brief but disarming sonic aggressiveness. Baptism continues this energy but sounds like an offshoot of 90's rave infused with electro punk. The following four tracks - Year Of Silence, Empathy, Suffocation and Violent Dreams are all standout tracks, but by now the standard has already been set and thankfully the following tracks continue the trend.

Closing track I am Made Of Chalk begins in a cloud of distortion but gradually introduces a wash of synth sounds and remodulated vocal layering and other assorted sound bites. A lovely end to an album that manages to cram claustophobia, melancholy and discord and more besides into some the most original and idiosyncratic electronic music that has ever graced my ears.

As a consequence of this I then bought their first album which is made up of demos, singles and such like, so considering that, CC (II) should really be considered their first true album. Highly recommended.
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on 13 July 2010
This band has a very unique sound, no one is like them (that i know of). This is an excellent follow up to their preivious album, you can tell its crystal castles but this album has a more euphoric dance feel to it but sounds more mature than there previous album. To be honnest i liked the first album but i love this one! Definatly the best album i have listened to this year. if you liked the first Crystal Castles Album this is a must buy!
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on 27 May 2011
Crystal Castles came to my attention a couple of years ago with their distinctive high frequency sound and unique style. Their first offering showed lots of promise with a few very good tracks with the rest being largely experimental with lots of loops and some bizarre shouting.

The 2nd offering takes their sound to new level providing some outstanding tunes with the same Crystal Castles stamp but more mature than before. 'Vietnam' and 'Intimate' are progressive tunes that suck you in and take you somewhere else with their gorgeous melodies whilst 'Celestica' shows off the vocals. Tracks such as 'Years of Silence' are absolute belters that will get anyone moving around. These are my favourites but this is great album that mixes chilled bliss with energy. This has been one of my most played albums of the year. Cant wait to see them live!
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Looking back over my wayward musings I gave Crystal Castles'
eponymous 2008 debut a brief but favorable review. With their
second delivery 'Crystal Castles II' I see no reason to abandon
them. Ethan Kath and Alice Glass are back with a collection of
fourteen uncompromising but highly accessible compositions.

The overall sound of the album is "crunchy". The treatments of
Ms Glass' voice conceal more than they reveal; this, despite the
often jolly dance-friendly nature of the arrangements, brings a
nicely sinister flavour to the proceedings. (The artwork is pretty
creepy too!)

'Celestica' has an almost-pretty breathy vocal floating over the
insistant beats. Waves of melancholy synth chords flow in and out
of the mix helping to sustain an uneasy dreamlike ambience.

'Doe Deer', however, is the stuff of nightmares. Ms Glass screeches
like a mad witch with a bad grudge. The inner-violence of the track
may be a tad unnerving for the faint-hearted. Uneasy-listening.

'Year Of Silence' is another sombre slice of stripped-down techno.
(Miss Kittin came to mind more than once). The thumping rhythm
would doubtless go down well in some of the darker corners of
contemporary urban clubland. (The kind of place where everyone
wears black and never smiles!)

'Suffocation', despite its ponderous title, delivers a glimpse of
warmth here and there with its almost-uplifting, anthemic theme.

'Birds' is a particularly interesting confection. The squelchy
beats, great crashing grungy chords and demented vocals outline
a territory which would have interested the venerable Mr Hitchcock,
were he still with us today.

Mr Kath has a turn behind the mike for their reworking of
Platinum Blonde's 1983 composition 'Not In Love'. It is one
of the album's high-points, despite the vocal sounding very
much as though it is being performed by a chipmunk.
(Listen and believe!!)

Final track 'I Am Made Of Chalk' brings the project to an
extraordinary close. The ravings of a savage or suffering
long-forgotten underwater creature would appear to have been
captured on tape and inserted into this deeply disturbing mix.
Not the sort of thing to listen to just before bedtime.

A willfully weird and totally thrilling listening experience!

Highly Recommended.
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on 16 June 2010
I first saw Crystal Castles in a Skins episode a few years ago and instantly loved the harsh completely unique styling of their music.

Their first self titled album brought together some very indistinguishable sounds that you would never have heard anything like before. From the powerful Alice Practice to the travelling conceptual nature of courtship dating the American duo combined sharp dance with methodical lyrics.

This follow up contains similar vibes that consistent of the same electronic genre and this time with more understandable agendas.

Some of the best tracks are Celestica, Baptism, Pap smear and Vietnam. All bringing back that wonderful dance styling from the first album and when on Jools Holland Celestica for me was made even better.

This album unlike the previous release took a while to get into as certain songs were not as inviting into their world. The opening to 'I am made of chalk' is rather strange at first, Doe deer is exceptionally eccentric and the feeling is more forced rather than chilled.

Nevertheless once you understand the band taking on this new style you can appreciate how they've accomplished justifying the dance genre. The tracks flow consistently like the first album and whilst the first is sharper this has some cracking numbers that, if you were a fan of their first album, are certainly worth checking out.

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