Review Summary: We demand to be taken seriously
OK so everybody likes Crystal Castles because they make fun, catchy and danceable tunes right? And no one cares that they're derivative as fuck (except electronic music elitests) because of how fun and catchy and danceable they are. Well Crystal Castles kind of said fuck all that with (III).
Basically everything people like about the electronic music duo from Canada is gone and has been replaced with sleep inducing basic beats and vocals drenched in so much reverb they make Loveless
seem like it was recorded in a closet.
Pretty much everything is stripped down on here, except the vocals which are cranked up to 11. The only problem is they used all the reverb in the whole fucking world on Alice's vocals. Because of the obscene amount of reverb on this album dream pop bands are going to have to start rationing out reverb. It's that ridiculous. 90% of the lyrics are impossible to make out because of how obscured the vocals are, and it doesn't complement the beats very well either. Speaking of the beats, they suck. Almost every beat on (III)
screams basic and rushed. With the overemphasis on vocals, and the stripped down beats, (III)
just doesn't stack up to its two predecessors sonically.
The first two Crystal Castles albums were all over the place, which was part of their charm. Each track had different sounds and different mixes, which led to albums that sounded more like greatest hits compilations, but at least the songs stuck out from each other. (III)
is the band's most cohesive album to date, but that's because all of the songs sound the same. I'm guessing they made an effort to make the tracks similar sonically like on most records by normal bands, but it's a detriment to Crystal Castles unique sound. The album runs at 39 minutes on only 12 tracks, and while there's isn't really any filler (except "Mercenary," that song blows,) there aren't any stand out tracks either. Being consistent isn't a positive when you consistently suck.
With all the complaints, there are some banging tracks on this thing. "Pale Flesh" has an interesting beat, and the violent sounding vocals gave me the swift kick in the narcs that I needed after I had started to drift off for a bit. "Sad Eyes" is cool too, it's got a real danceable beat to it and some simple catchy synths. It's a shame it's followed up by five really boring tracks that go nowhere. The best track is the closer "Child I Will Hurt You" which is a heavenly lullaby that's quite fitting as a closer to a sleep inducing record. Unfortunately the three or four interesting tracks aren't enough to save (III)
It's hard to be mad at a band that wants to develop their sound and go places, but when the place a band is heading is Snooze City we have a problem. Most of the tracks on this thing have really simple beats and song structures that go nowhere. This wouldn't be a problem if the songs were catchy (which they aren't) and I constantly found myself drifting off while listening with nothing there for me to focus on. Overall there's really nothing here that I couldn't get a better version of from a different group, or even the first two Crystal Castles records. Crystal Castles try to go all deep on us, but instead make a flat and boring record that loses what made the band so great in the first place.