Crystal Castles: The Source of all Power

By Kerryn Chegwidden|

Ethan Kath and Alice Glass are the duo of the unique dark-electro that is Crystal Castles. They are misfits who found each other by chance. Alice was a 15 year old run-away in an all-girl punk band. She was spitting beer at eyeballing men in the audience when Ethan spotted her. Her performances are enchanting to say the least. Cigarette and Jack Daniels in hand; she loses herself in the music. Their music is an experimentation of the melancholic and their performances are an explosive sensory overload. Alice Glass is the beauty of chaos.

The sound is completely their own; unrelated to any specific scene, city or sound. Here is a band that is purely interested in the music. Their passion is evident in their recordings, performances and videos. Kath records the music on a 1996 desktop PC and Glass is recorded in studio; his approach is minimalistic: “[the] equipment is old, but it’s all I need”. Her voice screams through the overlays of gothic synth-pop disrupting the listening experience. Crystal Castles are memorable and emotionally damaging whether you like them or not. And this is why they are beautifully terrifying.

Their debut album simplistically titled, Crystal Castles, third track ‘Untrust us’ is probably one of their most recognisable tracks to date. The Capital Children’s Choir uploaded an incredible acapella cover of ‘Untrust us’ on YouTube in July 2013. The choir replaces Crystal Castle’s synths and percussion with their voices and hands. The result is unbelievable.

‘Affection’ music video was released on 26 April 2013 following the release of their latest LP, (III), in November 2012. The music video is almost an artsy documentary of their recent South American tour. The film flickers in a haze of blue, red and purple. Fireworks burst into the night’s sky in reverse silhouetting the trees beneath them.  Alice and Ethan are filmed as abandoned in between the blades of grass. There is an eerie rawness which parallels the song where personal undertones are made vulnerable unlike their previous albums.  (III) lingers in an unsettling loneliness throughout in comparison to (II); the epitome of anxiety induced paranoia.

Their latest album reeks of captivating tracks all the way to the end. My advice – pay particular attention to: Plague, Wrath of God, Affection and Transgender.

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