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Album Review

On Dig That Treasure, Cryptacize played tug of war with innocence and sophistication, and form and freedom, all the while pitting melodies as pure as standards or lullabies against radically simple yet artful playing. Their sound was strange, in the best possible way, and difficult to pin down; on Mythomania, Cryptacize trades some of that strangeness for immediacy, which isn't necessarily a bad thing — previously, their sketches and vignettes were so delicate and spare that they often seemed in danger of floating away. Here, that delicacy is tempered by more regular rhythms and structures that give these songs at least a few roots in terra firma, without sacrificing too much of their experimentalism or charm. While nothing on Mythomania is as immediately breathtaking as Treasure's "Cosmic Sing-A-Long," the album's more polished, grounded sound lets Cryptacize stretch their range to include "Blue Tears"' harpsichord-driven chamber rock, and the surprisingly funky wah-wah groove of "One Block Wonders." But, in true Cryptacize fashion, for every brash and bright moment on the album, a gentle one complements it. "What You Can't See Is" feels guided by dream logic as it drifts from partly cloudy musings to sunny, autoharp-driven reflections; "Galvanize" is just as ethereal and narcotic as a song with lyrics like "Fields of poppy, you hypnotize me" should be. As Mythomania unfolds, it reveals that the band's sound paintings are just as bright and expressive as ever, particularly on album opener "Tail & Mane," which moves from madcap electronics to clip-clopping percussion as it tells the tale of a lovelorn horse thief. The album's best moments are direct yet sweetly odd, like the title track, one of the few songs that sorts itself into clearly delineated verses and choruses; "The Cage" switches from garage pop with adorable harmonies to dramatic, organ-driven passages; and "New Spell," which closes Mythomania with a mischievous twinkle. Throughout it all, Nedelle and Chris Cohen's vocals are prettier than ever, heightening the surrealism of these songs — and "The Loving Sun" and "Gotta Get into That Feeling" in particular — with bell-like clarity. Even though Cryptacize remain difficult to pin down, the chances they take on Mythomania bring them a little bit closer to reach.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Cryptacize's elliptical, experimental indie pop isn't all that cryptic, considering the involvement of former Deerhoof guitarist Chris Cohen and playful vocalist/instrumentalist Nedelle Torrisi. The pair first collaborated on Cohen's Curtains project, with Torrisi chipping in vocals on 2006's Calamity. Cohen and Torrisi discovered percussionist Michael Carreira via a video of him playing cowbell on YouTube. After recruiting Carreira, the trio became Cryptacize, and began playing and recording in...
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Mythomania, Cryptacize
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