Crystal Castles – III
Crystal Castles were one of the central influences on the producers and bands who would go on to be grouped under the genre tag of 'witch house.' In a remarkable and somewhat disappointing move, their third album sees the band calling in that debt, and aping the sound of several bands who followed in their wake. The worst offender, first single Plague sounds uncannily like London's CRIM3S, with Alice Glass pushing her vocals into a distorted punk howl.
The polished dream-pop touches of tracks likle Celestica, or the Ladytron-esque electro pulse of tracks like Crimewave are almost completely absent here: instead we get the majestic goth-trance of Wrath of God and Affection, which owe a debt to Mexico's Ritualz. For listeners who have been following these more underground bands, the traces of influence could well be a deal-breaker; an opportunist move by a band with a more mainstream following.
On the other hand, those unfamiliar with the likes of CRIM3S and Ritualz could well be impressed by Crystal Castles' darker, edgier sound on III. It's not that this häxan cloak doesn't fit them – but perhaps we could be forgiven for expecting more from one of the genre's progenitors.