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Album Review

An enormous amount of blog buzz championed their EP, and six months later, Crystal Antlers released their first full-length, Tentacles. Surprisingly, the debut largely lived up to all the surrounding hype. Forgoing the engineering prowess of Mars Volta producer Ikie Owens, the sextet members produced the record themselves, resulting in a brittle, sonically noisy affair — one that practically begs to be cranked. With Victor Rodriguez's Farfisa organ front and center, neck and neck with Jonny Bell's wild howling, Crystal Antlers' prog tendencies become more evident, and their slanted arpeggio melodies seem even more skewed, making them difficult as ever to pin down, even if they are more refined. Chaotic feedback and frantic drum fills feed the fiery "Dust," "Time Erased," and "Your Spears" in an adrenalized rage. These aggressive, urgent songs are balanced out by mesmerizing instrumentals and partly psychedelic, weirdly bluesy pseudo-ballads. "Andrew" fits the unlikely combo of blues and psych together wonderfully, in what might be the band's most unlikely crossover, while "Glacier" spirals down descending scales and bucks to alternating time signatures, but somehow manages to seem relaxed at the same time.


Formed: 2006 in Long Beach, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Long Beach, California's Crystal Antlers began turning heads in 2008 with their recording debut, EP, a release that was produced by Ikie Owens (known for his work with the Mars Volta) and noted for its blend of psychedelic, garage, and prog rock sounds. Jonny Bell (bass, vocals, woodwinds), Andrew King (guitar, organ), Victor Rodriguez (organ), Kevin Stuart (drums), and Damian Edwards (percussion) soon developed a reputation for eccentric live shows and earned comparisons to Comets on Fire and Les...
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Tentacles, Crystal Antlers
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