Whilst many like myself revelled in the chaotic computer game bleeps and desperate shrieks of vocalist Alice Glass that defined their debut, there were just as many that found it to be a distressing mutilation of their ears. So would the second album offer more of the same? Although the sonic landscapes remain cold and desolate as before, this second album is rather more sublime creature than its predecessor. It is also a more accessible listen this time around but this may simply be because Alice’s shrieking takes a backseat for a lot of the album allowing us to fall under the spell of a her tender singing voice that adds a warmth to the intense pulsating synths on tracks like single ‘Celestica’. There is also an icy sadness to her soft tones that make tracks like ‘Empathy’ even more captivating.
However those of you who fell for the wonderfully demented chaos of tracks like ‘XXZXCUZX Me’ will not be disappointed either with Glass screaming her way through the 1.38 minute seizure that is ‘Doe Dear’ and the guitar thrashing onslaught of ‘Birds’.
There are also great pop singles to be found here too in the form of gloriously addictive rave essential ‘Baptism’, which is currently tearing up the Radio 1 daytime playlist.
Beautifully haunting and disturbingly stunning, this is a triumphant return for Crystal Castles though I’m still waiting for something as brilliant as the magnificent monster that is ‘Alice Practice’.
From James Smyllie.