Angsty, modern and intense – the latest installment by Crystal Castles is one that leaves a lasting impression on any listener.
By creating songs that carry such a prominent sense of intensity and beauty, Amnesty (I) is an album that shows this band’s heart is well and truly pumping. Featuring new addition Edith Frances, Crystal Castles’ latest is one that truly brings something else to the table.
The use of choir sounds met with a beat that would make a trap artist break out into a sweat is the cathartic and dense sound that Crystal Castles are renowned for. For all these reasons and more, ‘Femen’ is a killer track to begin Amnesty (I). With subtle bass lines slowly gaining prominence as the track progresses, ‘Femen’ is the perfect opener for the album.
Followed by a track that heavily contrasts its given title, ‘Fleece’ is definitely not soft and flouncy. Rather, it’s a truly unique track that has much more bite than any traditional sweater. The echo heard on Edith Frances’ vocal track is a great aspect as it cements the holistic and chaotic sound that Crystal Castles are famous for. The manner in which the song drops off is a genuine issue, as the song seems to hit a climax and then ends rather abruptly – almost like seeing the Mona Lisa torn in half.
‘Char’ is a real feature song within this album as it shows a new direction for Crystal Castles that incorporates pop sensibilities without sounding cheap and dispassionate. The tracks tonality is rich with varied textures and really creates a vivacious and electric sound that is bound to make any listener happy. The only negative is that the song does seem formulaic and does get predictable – though the groove is one that’s worth repeating.
The greatest feature on this album is the melancholy and soulful ‘Sadist’. The mellow and inspired singing provided by Edith Frances, blended with the sounds of that synthesizer, create a truly great piece of music. This song really shows Crystal Castles taking a new direction, in all the right ways, and because of that – is the standout song. Another song within the album that accomplishes something similar is ‘Ornament’. The piece creates a sense of enchantment via its superb display of sampling. By giving artistry to this contentious mode of creation, ‘Ornament’ is a piece that is synthesized glamour incarnate.
Instrumental ‘Teach Her How To Hunt’ is an amazing jam that simply oozes class and shows us just how much potential this ensemble truly has. The ability to convey intensity, drama and raw passion within a few mere minutes is a talent that isn’t afforded to many. Luckily, Crystal Castles haven’t lost that their ability to do just that.
‘Chloroform’ is a track that lulls when compared to the songs heard before the others and though it does carry the flow, it is forgettable. This song isn’t necessarily bad, but it does feel somewhat uninspired. Other songs that tend to bear the same mark as this forgettable track include ‘Frail’ and ‘Concrete’ on account of similar issues.
‘Their Kindness is Charade’ is a great closer as the choice tends to sum up the overall meaning inherently embedded within the album. This instrumental is one that really conveys a sense of optimism, but also subtly creates that sense of intensity that Crystal Castles has become known for.
Overall, Amnesty (I) is a fine album that shows how relevant Crystal Castles remain to the music industry. By still creating pieces that touch people in ways that traditional tracks simply couldn’t, this band is one that is more than worthy of a listen. Amnesty (I) is worth getting excited about and, despite some imperfections, won’t let you down.
Amnesty (I) is set to release on August 19th via Fiction Records/ Caroline Australia