Crystal Stilts – Nature Noir
Nature Noir – New York post-punks Crystal Stilts' third LP in the decade they’ve been together – may shed some of the bluesier elements of 2011’s In Love with Oblivion, but telltale facets of their sonic identity hold strong. You’ve got your folk-rock swagger, your gritty synth and your sleepy vocals (lead cowboy Brad Hargett’s FX-treated mumbling cements them as a drone outfit).
But the production is slicker, the instrumentation more varied (a sombre string section backs closer Phases Forever, and warped piano lingers after Darken the Door), so their latest offering adroitly hangs together. Crunchy opener Spirit In Front Of Me wouldn’t be out of place in the credits to Boardwalk Empire, while Future Folklore rides through the desert with a countrified lurch. Repetition may be Nature’s only flaw, however, as an unlucky byproduct of a confident consistency; too much on show here could be damned as 'samey.' [George Sully]