It has been more than a year since new Crystal Castles promised new music and new singer Edith Frances was revealed.
Alice Glass’ sulky shoes were tough to fill, but it turns out that Frances’ voice sounds almost exactly as strange and childlike once run through producer Ethan Kath’s distorted mic.
Like all CC albums, Amnesty (I) sounds like video game music being pounded out of nightclub speakers. Opener Femen is a deceptively chilled start before Fleece goes in for the kill with loud shrieks and electro-punk synths. Char plays with fellow electronic act The Knife’s chilly looping melodies, while the bass in Enth takes things full cyber-goth.
Things get weirder from then on: Sadist, Teach Her How to Hunt and Chloroform explore the darker sides of witch house, making way for Frail, which is formed from Frances’ excited chipmunk yelps and ethereal sighs over pumping bass and strobing synths. The album closes on an optimistic note, evoking Canadian synth-pop artist Grimes, with sickly sweet vocals.
It’s always felt like Kath isn’t making music for humans, but warping the airwaves for an alien race. Crystal Castles triumphs in bringing electronic music’s subcultures to the mainstream. And it’s a tribe that feels fun to be part of.