Crystal Castles – (III)
The new Crystal Castles album, released earlier this month doesn’t surprise with its name – (III), but it does astonish at least a bit with its sound. The latest creation of the Canadian electronic duo is calmer and slower than the preceding (II) – Alice Glass’ voice feels tender under a veil of noisy darkness, while the beats are often muted, coming as an echo.
“We wanted the new album to sound like a completely different and new experience,” said Ethan Kath in an official statement. “We’d limit ourselves to one take on each song because we believe the first take is the rawest expression of an idea.” The producer and the main songwriter of the band also created a “strictly no computers” rule in the studio and began recording everything directly to tape, ditching the old synthesizers and keyboards used on their first two albums.
Recorded mostly in Warsaw and Berlin, (III) deals with the themes of oppression and the injustice in the world right now. The cover features a picture by Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda, showing a Yemeni woman holding her son who was exposed to tear gas during a street demonstration. The lyrics are mostly about children and women, connected with religion, sadness and violence.
Vocals are included in each of the twelve songs of (III) – even in Telepath, which sounds like a violent, very-typical-for-Crystal-Castles instrumental; the voice of Alice Glass is dissolved and sprinkled all over the track.
“Oppression is a theme in general … A lot of bad things have happened to people close to me since (II) and it’s profoundly influenced my writing as I’ve realized there will never be justice for them,” Alice Glass commented in a statement. “I didn’t think I could lose faith in humanity any more than I already had, but after witnessing some things, it feels like the world is a dystopia where victims don’t get justice and corruption prevails. I’m one step away from being a vigilante to protect people and bring justice to the people I love. I’ve thought about it”.
(III) is gloomy, distorted and quite apocalyptic and could easily make an end of the world soundtrack, especially if you want to spend it on a dark new rave party.
Watch the band’s video for the single Plague here: