Monday, 9 June 2008

Pacman Rocks!

Crystal Castles are a Toronto based 8-bit Atari group, consisting of multi-instrumentalist Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass, the duo have made a name for themselves through a few limited release EPs, a blistering live set, and some popular remixes of Bloc Party (Hunting for Witches), Klaxons (Atlantis to Interzone) and Uffie (Pop the Glock). Crystal Castles have now gone back to these remixes and EPs to put together their debut self titled album.

Opening with Untrust Us which samples the opening bars from Death From Above 1979’s Dead Womb, and loops them over and over forming the vocal for the track that pushes you higher and higher, Alice Practice cuts in with a bang, beep, blip sounding something like a penny arcade from hell.

Crimewave and Magic Spells give the listener some space to absorb the record, but just as you get comfortable Xxzxcuzx Me breaks out with the kind of sound I can only imagine coming from a Mrs Pacman and Super Mario fronted metal band. Air War follows which is again all blips and beeps but here they are intelligently put together into a smart little song that delivers the album into its best moments.

The highlights of Crystal Castles’ debut are spread across the middle four tracks starting with current single Courtship Dating, controversially sampled by Timberland for the 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake single Ayo Technology, Courtship Dating allows Glass to stop screaming and prove herself as a singer, the result is a pop song that will do well on the dance floor of many indie clubs.

Good Time is as much a reworking of Drinking Electricity’s Good Times as it is a Crystal Castles original, but no matter the origins it is exactly as the title suggests a good time track, short instrumental 1991 leads in to another remix/original Vanished which samples the vocals and melody of Sex City by Australians Van She (Vanished//Van She, you see what they did)

Knights, Love and Caring, Through the Hosiery and Reckless keep the album moving as it progresses into dance or even rave territory reaching hands in the air euphoria in Black Panther.

Closing out the album is the dreamy acoustic guitar lead Tell Me What To Swallow.

In all Crystal Castles heavy use of samples makes their sound familiar but totally new at the same time, the resulting album is a surprisingly good one, one that uses all the tricks in the Nintendocore tool box but importantly knows that a little restraint can be more satisfying than losing your last quarter chasing the impossible bonus cherry. - 1UP

1 comment:

Tanya said...

They look like they are in pain hunched over like that.