It’s not unusual for bands to use the release of a new album to take their music in a new and unexpected direction; though this is not always a change for the better. III certainly marks a departure for Toronto duo Crystal Castles, but their new direction may disappoint many of their fans. The band’s trademark mixture of chip tunes and fevered vocals have been jettisoned in favour of an altogether more generic sounding collection of songs.
This record lacks the energy and intensity of their previous albums, with Alice Glass being underused and her vocals being absorbed by the music rather than complimenting it. None of III’s tracks are as aggressive or anthemic as ‘Baptism’, nor can they match the soothing, dreamy quality of ‘Suffocation’. The only song that stands out in any way among the album’s subdued, heavily distorted dozen tracks is ‘Wrath of God’, though even this is an unremarkable effort when compared with the weaker songs on their previous two albums.
With this record, Crystal Castles have lost their distinctive sound and are instead now running the risk of becoming indistinguishable from the current morass of lacklustre dance acts. Ethan Kath may need to reconsider the new direction he’s taken towards producing the band’s music if he wants to recapture the appeal of their previous records.
In a Nutshell: A new direction for Crystal Castles which may divide rather than please their fans.