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Album Review: Crystal Castles - II
by Lauren Jefferson

Crystal Castles’ sophomore album Crystal Castles (II), which was supposed to make its debut on June 7, 2010, will now make its official debut on May 25th. The band moved up the release by a couple of weeks due to its leak on April 19th. Crystal Castles (II) has been available online digitally since the day it leaked. This album shows a much more mature sound for the band. Following the 8-bit terror of their self-titled debut, Crystal Castles (II) offers the listener a softer and lusher sound. Although some of these 14 tracks contain the same abrasive incoherent vocals of the Alice Glass, the music and Ethan Kath’s brilliant production behind the chaos is much more hauntingly beautiful and ethereal than it was before. The best examples of this are on “Celestica” and “Pap Smear”, which both hit with a soundscape of reverberating beats and evil injected club effects. But don’t mistake the lushness as Crystal Castles getting all soft and huggable; “Violent Dreams” is one of the tracks which definitely asphyxiates you with this eerie and evil undertone.

The only way to listen to this album is really, really loud with some quality speakers or headphones. It needs to be so loud that your eardrums want to burst. Now, I don’t condone hearing loss, but this is one of those albums that hits best when you’re alone and you can just feel the music pulsing through your body. As far as getting the full evil experience, I recommend listening to this one start to finish as a whole. You won’t be disappointed. This album is just what Crystal Castles needs to solidify themselves in the history of electronic music. Let’s see if they can uphold my statement in the future.

Crystal Castles will be touring the UK from May to July, but they return to the US in August for a handful of shows. Check the entire list of tour dates on their website. And should you choose to go, bring earplugs.