I want to start off by saying I really don't listen to much of this music type. But one day, I was hungering for something that was a completely different direction than my normal taste. I had just bought about 20 doom metal CD's in the last few months, and I had pretty much exhausted all the new artists I would find there for a while. So I was thinking there's got to be some good electronic music out there. Something that isn't your boring rave/techno pulsating beat we all know. I stumbled upon the "chiptune" genre, and while I thought many of those artists were pretty cool, most of them sounded a little too video-gamey and sounded like they were limiting themselves. So with the help of a good online radio program, I stumbled upon Crystal Castles. I kept playing their station and loved every song I heard. They seem to take the chiptune genre a bit further - while having some 8-bit sounds in there, they add more modern tones and vocals, more polished production, and their own unique sound and experimentation, making for a sort of indie-electro feel.
It's really hard to explain why I like this so much. It's just really good, really unique, and has attitude. It's for sure one of my favorite/most addicting albums of the year. I think for me it's just something so fresh and different - even fans of their first album seem to think so as well. There's just something magical about their sound - like you need some sort of special arcane understanding to enjoy it. I attribute it to a lucid dream if you will - the music can be dreamlike: surreal, otherworldly, and really bizarre at times, but so good, you don't notice how bizarre. But at the same time, it is clear, energetic, and distinct. You never want to wake up.
The first track I heard was "Baptism" - its intensity couldn't go unnoticed and got me hooked. Now though, I'd say my favorite tracks are "Violent Dreams," "Vietnam," "Suffocation," and "Pap Smear." "Not in Love" seems to be a very popular track as well... might as well list them all at this point.
Now, the reason this album gets 4 stars is because there are a few songs that are a bit too experimental for me. Unfortunately, I usually skip most of these, and I truthfully hate skipping tracks. The very first track, "Fainting Spells" being the prime example of this - a wall of twisted noise and agitating vocals will certainly test the listener's sanity, I know I questioned myself saying something like "What have I gotten myself into?" "Doe Deer" is another that is almost unbearable to listen to. "Birds" isn't very noisy, but I consider this song boring and extremely repetitive compared to the rest, so for me it's usually a skipper. "I Am Made of Chalk" may immediately turn the listener off but if he is patient for the first few seconds, it is a really nice mostly ambient track, with some crazy vocal manipulations but I think it proves to be a very good, albeit interesting track. I really wanted to give 5 stars, because the songs I do love are some of the best I've heard all year. If those first three tracks mentioned were as good as the rest, this would easily be a five-star album.
I have just ordered their first album, and cannot wait for more. These guys are some of the most exciting new musicians I have discovered in a while.
Also, check out the track Not in Love (feat. Robert Smith of The Cure) for some more pure amazing awesomeness.