Thursday, 4 November 2010

Crystal Castles...goth noir collaboration for 'Not In Love' and a new video for 'Baptism'


Crystal Castles second album has been one of my favourites this year, on constant play with its 'uniquely' messed up experimental electronica and Alice Glass banshee squeal led by Ethan Kath's digital synth madness.

So for this week, two bits of good news on the Castles  front. After the strange 'quiet' since the release of  Celestica, there is finally a new single out with a surprising goth noir collaboration and a new video from another album track. Any fan would feel spoilt for choice this week with more from this work of musical genius that ranges from distorted drugged up rave, chiptune to shoegaze and always so untypical.

Never a band to be predictable, there were rumours of  the drugged up beats of 'Baptism' being the second single after the surprisingly melodic 'Celestica' but then it seemed 'Not in Love' was the big news just last week? Guest vocals from Robert Smith made me cringe slightly,  but it works, surprisingly his angst ridden often melancholic tones really pull it all together. Who would have seen this coming? If you haven't already heard it...listen here, it's out on December 6th!

It does make you tap your feet a bit more than the album version which is distortion mad to the point it sounds like it was recorded under water. In a recent NME interview Ethan Kath did refer to Alice as a 'poet', so it's nice to hear this poetry clearly for once with Robert Smith's audible vocals. As much as I like the screeching of Alice, sometimes I want to hear what she's saying, her plaintiff cries of lost love and empty hearts shows a new sensitive side.  I have also noted Alice Glass' Smiths t-shirts in a many a live clip, so if any day now Morrissey lends some vocals, I may jump for joy!

The only slight disappointment with this track is that when Alice and Robert's vocals are mixed, it is fab and such a shame there wasn't more of this in the single. It's postmodernism gone a bit mad with this track that's originally the new wave Canadian band Platinum Blonde, now given its Castles treatment and then done yet again with different vocals for single release.

A few radio play lists later and crowned 'track of the week' in NME with 'Not in Love', it seems 'Baptism' is back in the news with a video, a real one with Alice in it...what is going on? In Celestica she floated in a glam noir trance around a graveyard, for this one she's the more recognizable Alice of  madness and frenzied dance moves, however catchy the Robert Smith collaboration is, he's just not as interesting to watch really! So check out this gem and if you haven't bought the album yet, shame on you, it's brilliant!

Baptism has the energy of Alice Practise after the surprise of the melodic Celestica and this single really will be a winner for any loyal Castles fans. The messed up vocals,  8-bit bleeps and chaotic lead synths as everyone throws around labels like 'nu-rave' and 'chiptune' just leave you with a band that cannot be pinned down; you either love it or hate it.

Crystal Castles are feeling a bit more 'commercial' with this second album and it seems the recording of a single with The Cure front man Robert Smith has been a very clever move along with the two videos released from the album that have been a little more polished, if slow coming out.

 I think they will lightly brush the mainstream while keeping  their signature erratic bleeping and bass lines, embracing distortion and melody as the quite bonkers and brilliant duo. Maybe one day someone will get a decent interview out of the elusive pair... or perhaps they do just sit back and laugh at the press they get for just pleasing themselves?

Crystal Castles II

 Crystal Castles myspace

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