6 Songs, 23 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

From the opening strains of “Crippled Croon” — with its ghostly, twinkling guitar and reverberating tambourine set in a tunnel of distorted guitar squalls — your first reaction to Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts might be fairly bright and optimistic. There’s a hint of ‘60s pop and Phil Spector drama in the winsome melody as murmured woozily by vocalist Brad Hargett. However, this collection of early releases by the Brooklyn purveyors of gloomy psych-rock soon embraces the dark, with a number of tracks recalling Ian Curtis and Joy Division in style and tone (especially the swirling morass of “The Sinking”). Balancing a sort of bleak despair with an intensely fluid and danceable brand of lysergic, fuzz-covered rock, Crystal Stilts seem to have a solid formula brewing. While touchstones such as the Jesus and Mary Chain and labelmates Black Tambourine come to mind, the Velvet Underground is a clear antecedent. “Lights” maintains a brooding spirit, Hargett’s vocals barely discernable amid the ominous rumble of a bass drum and glittering keyboards, but it does so bathed in a wash of sunlight and kaleidoscope color. Crystal Stilts has clearly chosen from the very best in terms of influences.

EDITORS’ NOTES

From the opening strains of “Crippled Croon” — with its ghostly, twinkling guitar and reverberating tambourine set in a tunnel of distorted guitar squalls — your first reaction to Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts might be fairly bright and optimistic. There’s a hint of ‘60s pop and Phil Spector drama in the winsome melody as murmured woozily by vocalist Brad Hargett. However, this collection of early releases by the Brooklyn purveyors of gloomy psych-rock soon embraces the dark, with a number of tracks recalling Ian Curtis and Joy Division in style and tone (especially the swirling morass of “The Sinking”). Balancing a sort of bleak despair with an intensely fluid and danceable brand of lysergic, fuzz-covered rock, Crystal Stilts seem to have a solid formula brewing. While touchstones such as the Jesus and Mary Chain and labelmates Black Tambourine come to mind, the Velvet Underground is a clear antecedent. “Lights” maintains a brooding spirit, Hargett’s vocals barely discernable amid the ominous rumble of a bass drum and glittering keyboards, but it does so bathed in a wash of sunlight and kaleidoscope color. Crystal Stilts has clearly chosen from the very best in terms of influences.

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