Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (2008)
The first time I heard the opening song “Untrust Us”, I became addicted. Took me a while to even get round to the second song. I loved the warped sampled cut-up vocal melody so much I couldn’t get past it. Eventually I did. And this Toronto two-piece kept the smile on my face, song after song. This is electronic music that zings and zaps, bops and beeps with a catchy playful energy, yet has a keen understanding of structure and restraint. It demands repeated listens. By placing digital breadcrumbs of sound throughout the album, they manage to draw you in, as if sleepwalking into a black hole. And as you pass through the event horizon everything is bleached white, and you adjust your eyes, making out a new soft country made of beats ripped straight from the ancient sound-banks of the Commodore 64 and the Amiga 500. You can see streets emerging. You can see suburban houses fading in and out of the landscape. And as you approach one of the houses, through the window you can see yourself, and a group of old friends standing in a circle air-guitaring and air-bassing and air-drumming to the soundtrack of an old 64 game. You lean in closer to hear the song, and even though you know the song you realise you’ve never heard it before. You hear slices of sound plucked straight out of your 80s youth, but it’s far more rockin’. In the corner of the room you see a guy behind keyboards and a girl with a mic going apeshit. They’re playing songs called: “Crimewave”, “Magic Spells”, “Air War”, “Vanished”, “Black Panther”, and you love them all. (Like New Order and Yeah Yeah Yeahs collaborating on the theme song for Double Dragon 2010.) Then they finish off with a dreamy number called: “Tell Me What to Swallow”, and though the song is only two and a half minutes long it seems to last ages, and it slowly subsumes the scene, turning everything white again, and you suddenly feel weightless. Then you realise you are reversing back through the black hole, laying bread crumbs down between bursting nebulae, where they’ll wait for someone else to discover.
By Decoy Spoon
Photos: Discorgy; www.bbc.co.uk