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iTunes Editors’ Notes

The Toronto duo Crystal Castles were like kids in a candy store on their 2009 self-titled debut: with bratty abandon, they made a record that gurgled and belched with regurgitated sounds of ancient arcade games and stylistic ping-ponging, just because they could. As pleasing as that debut was, Crystal Castles II puts the duo’s obvious passions and influences into a framework that feels more carefully considered; it's meticulously controlled and executed. There's a cohesiveness and maturity here. Any artist capable of seamlessly bridging the abrasive grit of the opening track, “Fainting Spells,” with the vaporous stardust of “Celestica” is clearly one in charge of a bold vision. Beyond the brutal stutter-and-static of “Doe Deer,” the house party of “Baptism,” and the rhythmic twee twinkling of “Year of Silence,” CCII leaps into the realm of aural art that conjures the visual. The haze of unease and sadness wrapping the delicate “Violent Dreams” and the distant vocals and distorted, sludgy guitars behind the electronic blippage of “Birds” conjures visions otherwise unseen.

Customer Reviews

The 13 Year Old Critic Pt. 1

Any good review should go track-by-track, so here goes!

1. Fainting Spells 2.5/5 The album gets off to a shaky start, with a mess of a song called "Fainting spells" It's basically buzzing and beeping ovetop indechipherable lyrics.

2. Celestica 5/5 Now we're cookin! This track has beautiful synths and vocals, courtesy of Alice Glass. Too bad she doesn't really get to sing a lot. Anyway, it's pretty upbeat sounding for such a dark album.

3. Doe Deer 3.5/5 Extremely choppy vox and synths turn out to be pretty catchy. It never really reaches full potential, though, as it's only 1 minute and 36 seconds long.

4. Baptism 4/5 It's Ok, though a little too poppy for my tastes.

5. Year of Silence 4.5/5 A remix of a Sigur Ros song. The lyrics are in Icelandic, and are perfectly synched with the beat. (BTW, check out Sigur Ros when you get the chance, they're great!)

6. Empathy 4.5/5 This one will be stuck in your head, with its echoed vox and top notch beat.

7. Suffocation 5/5 Amazing soundscapes and beautifully innocent sounding vocals. 2nd best on the album.

8. Violent Dreams 3/5 Vocals here resemble Untrust Us. The rest of it, however, does not. It's a little too slow for its length.

9. Vietnam 4/5 Really kool choppy drums and creepy vocals make this a nasty song.

10. Birds 1/5 This would be a great song, but the weird beeping noise is sort of off, and it's so loud it just ruins the song.

11. Pap Smear 4.5/5 It's what a rainbow sounds like.

12. Not In Love 7/5 Amazing song, that will blow your mind. Robert Smith's (of The Cure) vocals go perfectly w/ the song. The CD version has Chipmunk style vox, and if you get tha version, i give it a 4.5/5.

13. Intimate 5/5 A very strong instrumental track.

14. I am Made of Chalk 2/5 A weak ending compared to "Tell me What to Swallow" on CC's debut.

In Conclusion...
You NEED: Celestica, Empathy, Suffocation, Not In love, Intimate

You Want: Doe Deer, Baptism, Year of Silence, Pap Smear

For the Fans: Fainting Spells, Violent Dreams, Vietnam

DON'T BUY: Birds, I am made of Chalk

Dark, Beautiful Masterpiece

This album is very melancholy, angry, and gothic in nature. It is an unbelievable electronic album that contains unique and creative songs. Highly recommended.

Beautiful.

One of the best albums ever.

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Fusing low-res electronic noise and pop hooks so effortlessly that it can seem accidental, Crystal Castles began as producer/multi-instrumentalist Ethan Kath's solo project in late 2003. Kath got the moniker from the name of She-Ra's dwelling in the He-Man and Masters of the Universe cartoon series; it's also the name of a 1983 Atari video game, which is oddly appropriate, considering that one component of the band's distinctive sound comes from a keyboard modified with an Atari 5200 sound chip....
Full Bio
(II), Crystal Castles
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