The Mark of Excellence

Crystal Castles

(III)

> > Nov 13 2012

Crystal Castles - (III)
By Max MertensIf a picture is worth a thousand words, the cover of Crystal Castles' third album serves as a manifesto of their sound. It features an photograph taken by Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda, depicting a woman holding her son, who was exposed to tear gas during an anti-government protest in Yemen in October 2011. Through email interviews, frontwoman Alice Glass and producer Ethan Kath have admitted that (III) was influenced by governmental, religious and societal oppression. For the soundtrack to their bleak worldview, the Toronto, ON duo recorded directly to tape and enforced a strict "no computers" policy. In the past, Kath buried Glass's shrieks beneath layers of 8-bit glitch and pulsating drums, but that's been mostly abandoned in favour of less abrasive vocals and trance synths. While lead singles "Plague" and "Wrath Of God" wouldn't sound out of place being played at a rave, it's darker topics like the abuse of children and women hinted at in the lyrics that leave a lasting uneasiness. Like the mother clutching her son on the cover, closing track "Child I Will Hurt You" feels like a tender embrace, but with deep sadness underneath. There have always been themes of violence in their music, not to mention their chaotic live shows, but by focusing on the scars that aren't always visible on the surface, Crystal Castles have delivered their most consistent album yet.
(Last Gang)
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