13 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Star of Love is not only an impressive full-length debut from the Spanish (by way of London) “folktronic” group Crystal Fighters; it’s extremely well crafted. The superb sequencing and the crisp, sparkling production let the quartet and their wide-ranging ideas shine. Where they might have blurred genre boundaries into a messy pastiche without a narrative, Star of Love blooms like a bud captured in slow motion, morphing from one stage to the next with utter grace. Traditional Basque instruments (the percussive txalaparta, which is built from wooden blocks, plus acoustic guitars, woodwinds, and tambourines) give way to electro-clash and dubstep flavors (synths, reverb, heavy bass, vocal chants), while on some tunes a hip-hop soul is palpable. The group’s singles (including their smash club hit “I Love London”) aren't the only stars here; “I Do This Everyday” is a relentless, M.I.A.-like stomper that will put your Zumba routine to shame. Meanwhile, the acoustic twitterings of “Plage” and “At Home” are as lovely as a summer frolic in an Alpine meadow. Basquetronica? Sure. Why not?

EDITORS’ NOTES

Star of Love is not only an impressive full-length debut from the Spanish (by way of London) “folktronic” group Crystal Fighters; it’s extremely well crafted. The superb sequencing and the crisp, sparkling production let the quartet and their wide-ranging ideas shine. Where they might have blurred genre boundaries into a messy pastiche without a narrative, Star of Love blooms like a bud captured in slow motion, morphing from one stage to the next with utter grace. Traditional Basque instruments (the percussive txalaparta, which is built from wooden blocks, plus acoustic guitars, woodwinds, and tambourines) give way to electro-clash and dubstep flavors (synths, reverb, heavy bass, vocal chants), while on some tunes a hip-hop soul is palpable. The group’s singles (including their smash club hit “I Love London”) aren't the only stars here; “I Do This Everyday” is a relentless, M.I.A.-like stomper that will put your Zumba routine to shame. Meanwhile, the acoustic twitterings of “Plage” and “At Home” are as lovely as a summer frolic in an Alpine meadow. Basquetronica? Sure. Why not?

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

87 Ratings

New & Original

snaleray,

When I first heard "At Home" on Sirius radio, I knew that I was listening to something special. This album is great becuase each track has a different sound; there's something for everyone. Here's my track-by track review:

1. Solar System- A great opener, this song builds with intensity with lyrics about "finding your soul" 9/10

2. Follow- One of the best, if not THE best track on the album. The chorus and lyrics of this song are truly amazing 10/10

3. Xtatic Truth- More of a dance song, this track has some inventive lyrics and a great dub beat 8/10

4. I Do This Everyday- My least favorite song on the album. The lyrics are very off-beat and distorted, and it's very hard to tell what's being said 5/10

5. Champion Sound- A quiter song, with a great blend of the acoustic and electric 8/10

6. Earth Island- My favorite track on the album. More of hip-hop song, with the greatest chorus I've ever heard. Epic stuff 10/10

7. Plage- A great acoustic summer jam about love. What more do you want? 10/10

8. In The Summer- A great party song, with a driving beat and chanted vocals. "I'll put a coin into your wishing well..." 9/10

9. At Home- The most "normal-sounding" song on the album, "At Home" is what would would happen if M.I.A. did a song for the "Juno" soundtrack. Also check out the Passion Pit remix, it's great. My only beef with this song is the rhyming of "paradise" with "paradise" uggh 10/10

10. I Love London- Very "clubby" but awesome. Gives the album some variety 9/10

11. Swallow- Plays as a sequel to "Follow" but with more dupstep beats. Sadly, this song isn't as upbeat as the former 7/10

12. Fiesta- Sounds like something you would hear at a Mexican restaraunt. Not feelin' it 6/10

13. With You- After the "not-so-goodness" of tracks 11 and 12, we finally get some awesomeness once again. This track is a great end to the album 10/10

Total score: 8/10

All in all, this is a great debut album, and I expect some more awesomeness from Crystal Fighters in the future.

Best Tracks:
Follow, Earth Island, Plage, At Home, With You

Worst Tracks:
I Do This Everyday, Swallow, Fiesta

Finally!

memeking¯\_(ツ)_/¯,

First time I heard these guys, i was hooked!

About Crystal Fighters

Combining Basque folk instruments with drum loops, heavy synths, and lilting vocals, Spain's Crystal Fighters formed after singer Laure Stockley recovered a diary of her deceased reclusive grandfather's while visiting his Basque country home. Inside his notebook was the skeleton of an incomplete opera, with what would become the future band's name as its title. Intent on completing the work and honoring her grandfather's legacy, she returned to London and enlisted the aid of friends Gilbert Vierich, Graham Dickson, Sebastian Pringle and Mimi Borelli, and together they worked to finish his opera. Along the way, they became inspired by the dark, folksy sounds of the Spanish instruments and, combining them with booming basslines, the band was born.

In 2008, they signed to the French fashion and music label Kitsuné. Their first single, "I Love London," became the only unreleased track to be named one of Mixmag's Top 100 Tunes in 2008, and was frequently remixed and played throughout the European club circuit. Their next single, Xtatic Truth, dropped in May of 2009, and several other singles, including In the Summer and Plage, were released before the band's debut album, Star of Love, arrived in late 2010. That year, the band also added drummer Andrea Marongiu to the fold. Nearly two years later, in April 2012, Star of Love was officially released in North America.

When Crystal Fighters recorded its second album, the band returned to the Basque hills to record songs during a two-month span. The result was the more streamlined Cave Rave, which was released in May 2013. A year later, the band released the single "Love Alight," which had been recorded during the Cave Rave sessions. Marongiu died from heart failure in September 2014, and his memory inspired several songs on 2016's Everything Is My Family, which was written and recorded in locales including the Canary Islands, Los Angeles, and London. ~ Heather Wellman

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