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Customer Review

TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 May 2010
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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