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Ian Cohen, a contributor for Pitchfork, analyzed that while the content on Crystal Castles goes through multiple genres and types of structures, "the body of the album can be distilled to an essence of the glassy, ten-lane stare of Last Exit with Ed Banger's egg-frying EQ." Mehan Jayasuriya, writing for Pop Matters, called it the "most iconoclastic and the most convincing" record of 2008's electro dance scene, reasoning that "their stripped-down, yet grimy aesthetic spits in the face of maximalist electro, offering a counterpoint to the polished, melodically overstated sound of Daft Punk and their progeny." He wrote that it "smash[es] all allusions to the Atari/cartoon generation of the '80s into their minute molecular parts and then piecing their electrum fragments into a bigger, newer, musical battlecat." A Drowned in Sound critic went as so far as to call the music "otherworldly" and "almost new-worldly" and compared it to the works of My Bloody Valentine, The Velvet Underground, and Sonic Youth in that the band "strike out to the edges of their own sensibility and return with the most unwieldy, uncomfortable sounds they find there before trying to work that noise inwards 'til it passes for pop." Cohen noted that this unpredictable aspect was especially true in the LP's last two tracks: "the mad dash of "Black Panther" is probably what nu-rave was supposed to sound like (the Goth! ), and then the record ends on a disquietingly beautiful shoegaze comedown played on an acoustic guitar of all things ("Tell Me What to Swallow")."The random element of Crystal Castles also applies to Glass's vocal performances where, in the words of All Music journalist Heather Phares, it can be "terrifying on one track and kittenish on another."Bryan Sanchez of Delusions of Adequacy called it "one of the best electronic albums of the year," highlighting how it was "stylishly sequenced," where "change of paces happen and come in at just the right times." All Music journalist Heather Phares was one of them, describing the album as "fresher, more complex, and much less gimmicky than might be expected, especially for those familiar with only the band's singles" and a "familiar-sounding, edgy, innocent, menacing, bold, nuanced, and altogether striking debut." Tony Naylor, in his eight-out-of-ten review for NME, noted feeling "intrigued and awestruck" after listening to the record and opined that "you will hear nothing better this year than" the tracks "Untrust Us," "Crimewave," "Air War," and "Vanished." A reviewer for Drowned in Sound stated that "what makes Crystal Castles so thrilling is that [the duo] turn the fruits of [the availability of technology] into weapons to use against it, using [it] to cut through the shitty mire." He praised it as "a crystal castle of technological rubbish fusing together under the harsh gaze of a falling sun, Kath and Glass digging around in the molten plastic for things to bang together, new-age Stigs dreaming of leisure's lost golden age in a data dump."Crystal Castles also had a few mixed critical opinions.
Some reviewers, including Naylor and Paul Nolan from Hot Press, felt that the more noise-induced, less pop-music-orientated cuts of the LP were its weakest tracks.
The pair then decided to formally become a group, picking out stage names together, with the name 'Crystal Castles' pulled from a line in the cartoon She-Ra: Princess of Power: "The fate of the world is safe in Crystal Castles." Several limited edition 7" vinyl singles followed in 20 on various independent labels, including two on London's Trouble Records.
In February 2008, Kath said his aim was to "..the most annoying sounds ever [for Alice to] scream over and then we’ll try to open for Melt Banana".
He called our first single “Alice Practice” and said my vocals were a mic test.
He concocted that story and told press it was an “accidental” recording, intentionally diminishing my role in its creation.
[Intro] Hi [Verse 1] Scars will heal, soon The dregs in us spent the earth down [Verse 2] Better than drowning in a burlap sack I live, as Alice, I die Children shouldn't play with dead things Foaming crows tear at their wings Sad eyes cry crimson blood [Verse 3] Drop it, it's dead Wheels won't turn, they won't turn the birdy's head Sad eyes, sad eyes like sharpened daggers You'll never walk, only stagger Sad eyes, quite cryptic Bye Historically the first true Crystal Castles song.
The vocals are allegedly derived from a warmup exercise Alice performed in the studio (hence “Alice Practice”), that Ethan later built a song around.
Producer Kath and vocalist Glass first collaborated in 2006 on the track "Alice Practice", a proof-of-concept which was initially shelved for six months.
Their third album, (III), was released on November 12, 2012 and was the number one album of 2012 on Tumblr and Hype Machine.
The album included four singles: "Plague", "Wrath of God", "Sad Eyes" and "Affection".
The current band members are Ethan Kath and Edith Frances.
Crystal Castles are known for their chaotic live shows and lo-fi melancholic homemade productions.
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In making their music, the duo mainly focused on how "abrasive" noise music was; as Glass explained, "annoying people still evokes an emotion in them.