Monday, June 02, 2008

Dance Goes Digital (Death Disco): Crystal Castles

Becoming hired guns for myriad remixes as well as being at the center of several controversial plagiarism disputes can get you plenty of buzz. None of it means anything, though, if you don't have some sort of winking proposition to get the people to stay after you wow them with the Colecovision sound signatures. Crystal Castles pull this off--if just barely. I mean, their name even comes from an Atari video game. It's not the method that seems trite, it's the tone. And with that tone comes baggage. Fortunately, it is baggage that is shrugged off about halfway through the Toronto based duo's surprinsingly infectious, self-titled debut. The album's digitally drowned chimes and bleeps set out for the fall in the early going. Things seem front loaded and eager to please. They almost let the album get away from them, but save it with ponderous, formless works of dubious fiction under the guise of dance and trip-hop under the guise of electropop. Crystal Castles is a menacing, jagged affair, that is in no way perfect, and in no way means to be. Ghost like vocals spoken by an alien robot; deft compositions, deceptively simple; it is as trite as it seems, but not without its otherworldly charms. If nothing else, Crystal Castles wraps you up and takes you away to its aforementioned frozen kingdom. It all almost feels like you would drown, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.


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