A Symphony of Noise
For those who had fallen in love with the contrasting sounds for which Crystal Castles has become known, their new album Amnesty (I) will quench any thirst for more. This album will be the first produced with new vocalist Edith Frances after Alice Glass’ departure for a solo career. Though some believed that Glass’ absence would be the end of Crystal Castles, Frances fills the void perfectly and the previous vocalist is hardly missed in this dynamic. Amnesty (I) falls somewhere between the laser dreamscapes of Com Truise and the electro-punk of The Bloody Beetroots, and becomes an addicting serrated edge that tears through the speakers with an inexplicable softness. This marriage of sounds is the intrigue that grabs the listener’s attention. Each track comes across as if two songs had been played on top of one another and for some unknown reason the final track produced is masterful. What producer Ethan Kath has created is beauty with just the right amount of ugly to make his sound unforgettable.
The tracks of this album are dynamic. They float out of lovely chorus and into an industrial grinder that makes the listener cringe with excitement like the precipice of a roller coaster’s first drop. These transitions are evident in tracks “Enth” and “Char,” but in no way do they push away their audience. This abrasiveness only draws one closer into the track holding their attention like a vice until the experience drifts away. “Frail” is a masterpiece as a festival anthem that’s been chopped up and reconstructed to create a darker mix. On top of all of this, the tracks progress in a way that feels as if all the tracks are trying to communicate with the listener.
Amnesty (I) isn’t all grinding, aggressive sounds. Tracks like “Teach Her How To Hunt” and “Ornament” give the listener breaks from the chaos and deliver a rolling, lo-fi sound that keep this album from becoming overbearing. “Teach Her To Hunt” is the dark bubbling mist that is secreted by the monsters that dwell under your bed. The sounds in this track create a suspense but there is no drop or significant track change, just a sudden cliffhanger that leaves the listener on edge. Usually low key tracks on an album like this become forgettable, yet “Ornament” is a pleasant surprise. The track drifts along with the beat creating a feel reminiscent of Grimes. It’s a groovy track that keeps Amnesty (I) from becoming twelve tracks of white noise. Every song in this album feels like it has a purpose to keep the balance of the album as a whole and Crystal Castles has accomplished that.
When thinking of Crystal Castles, there is a specific sound that characterizes these artists. It’s as if there is an itch in your soul that only they can scratch. It’s the abrasive sounds that by themselves would drive an audience away but Crystal Castles has found a way to show the beauty and the drama in them so that the audience can appreciate and love the sounds of the album. Amnesty (I) carries the attitude of their previous hit “Not In Love” and gives the people more of what they want. As an album the tracks keep a great balance and make this a fantastic listen beginning to end. Kath and new vocalist Edith Frances do not disappoint.