Crystal Castles comes to Glasgow's O2 ABC with darker material
- David Pollock
- 15 November 2012
The band's third album explores a sinister edge in the 2012 cultural landscape
Despite their often-unsettling musical supremacy, Toronto’s Crystal Castles occasionally seem wilfully confrontational without a surplus of substance to back it up. They’ve shot up in our estimation after a interview ahead of LP Crystal Castles (III), however, where singer Alice Glass lambasted a different brand of women in pop music (eg Katy Perry and Lady Gaga) for oversexualising shows essentially aimed at children. It needed saying, and kudos to her for saying it.
Crystal Castles (III), perhaps even more so than 2008’s Crystal Castles and 2010’s Crystal Castles (II), seems pitched by Glass and Ethan Kath to capture a darkness in 2012’s zeitgeist: the cover is Samuel Aranda’s World Press Photo-winning monochrome print; a woman in a burka cradling her naked, tear-gassed son after a demonstration in Yemen. Yet for all their outspokenness and violent imagery, CC are not given to political sloganeering. Quite the opposite – strobe-flared live shows and Glass’ naked shriek form a wonderfully unnerving, exciting spectacle, but this album demonstrates a subtler breadth of tone during the warm, Knife-like resignation of ‘Affection’, the uncomfortably over-produced pop of ‘Sad Face’ and goth electro of ‘Transgender’. They’re a band redolent of danger, and a generation surrounded by static noise and uncertainty, yet within their masterfully-crafted aesthetic they get away without saying much at all.
ABC, Glasgow, Mon 26 Nov. Crystal Castles (III) is out now on Mute.