Posted by: dougery | March 26, 2009

By the Power of Greyskull

Oh my Lord I’m crushing hard. A music crush, for me, the most dire. I can watch, or rather listen, as an album elbows its way into my chest cavity and replaces all others for weeks at a time. The month of March has been the month of Crystal Castles. My Ipod is stuck on repeat, my Jeep’s CD player loops around and around. Radio, NPR? Please. Not right now.

I am also behind the Times. Crystal Castles self-titled debut came out almost a full year ago. I bought it around X-mas. It lay unused, unopened in my CD closet for months. Its not that I had any doubts. Far from it. It was getting crazy-good reviews, the music being described as ‘full of video games noises and glitchs’ and with female vocals to boot. Two of my favoritest musical things. No, it was more like I was saving this one, like an ace up one’s sleeve, or a bottle of really good bourbon that sits unopened on your shelf while you whittle away on the cheap stuff.

But man, it was love at first listen. All the best parts of Cheesy French electro (thumping beats, synth-y 80s atmosphere) combined with Mega Man 2 stage music sound effects. And the lead singer has been rightfully described as a chameleon, blinking in and out of songs. One moment with riot grrl fury in a raw punked-out bulldozer edge and then a few songs later reeling back to employ a sweet chanteuse delicacy that would make Feist sound grating. My favorite moments are when she sounds chipper and upbeat, her vocals layered and cut up over all those video game noises. Makes me think of the head highschool cheerleader re-envisioned by the nerds, cheering on a team of gamers to victory.

It is less about aping the way early video games used noises and constructed surprisingly complicated music out of unsophisticated technology and more about building songs that make one feel what its like to be a kid and playing those games. Raw enthusiasm and a big heart. And nowhere near as gimmicky as all this might sound, although I suppose the natural caveat of ‘it’s not for everyone’ probably applies. But I can’t get enough. One more reason to look forward to the ride home from work.

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