EDM (ELECTRONIC DYSTOPIAN MUSIC)
JUICE has never thought of Crystal Castles as happy musicians but with third album (III), Ethan Kath and Alice Glass have crafted fiercely dystopian electronic music. Alice admitted as much that she couldn’t lose faith in humanity any more than she already did and it shows on this record. Her vocals are more muddled now, obscured by effects and noises, effectively accentuating her frustration.
On ‘Wrath of God’, her voice acts more like an instrument – conveying her apocalyptic angst in the sound it’s making rather than the words sung. Even when the words are clear, such as it is on the potent witch house-channelling ‘Affectation’, your emotional connection to the song has more to do with how dolefully unhappy she sounds.
Ethan’s production is more reminiscent of their debut, messy yet tethered to the edge in case they fall off the sonic precipice – fitting perfectly with the anarchic bent of Alice’s vocals. Unlike the other after-club depression album, Andy Stott’s Luxury Problems, Ethan still wants you to dance despite the content of the album.
‘Sad Eyes’ is a throwback to rave, one that you’d party to right before the end of the world. And a good number of the tracks after halfway through the album is Crystal Castles at their most aggressive. ‘Violent Youths’, ‘Mercenary’, and ‘Insulin’ contrast the beautifully depressing half of the record with after-club anger.
There’s a mid-‘80s quality to (III)’s mood. Just as the Cold War’s end spelled out doom and gloom, the confluence of today’s perpetual war on terror, regression of progress in the form of the Tea Party and Perkasa, and economic downturn do the same. It is no wonder that even clubbing music sounds terrified now.
LISTEN TO: ‘Affectation’, ‘Plague’, ‘Mercenary’, ‘Sad Eyes’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Pictureplane, HEARTSREVOLUTION, White Ring