September 26, 2012

Song Review: Crystal Castles' "Wrath of God"

The refinements made to Crystal Castles' dark-hued electronica between their self-titled debut and their sophomore effort were remarkable. The Canadian duo burst onto the scene using scorching 8-bits at their disposal, but in 2010, they gravitated away from the static bounce and into eerie, clandestine textures with the results making for something dark and lovely rather than beat-heavy and grating. Alice Glass and Ethan Kath are returning with their third untitled album (known as III) on November 6th via Casablanca / Fiction / Universal Republic, an effort they say in a press release was sculpted by themes of oppression that has materialized a much more carnal and natural output than their first two LPs ("Any keyboards and pedals used on I or II were traded for different keyboards and pedals so that there would be a new palette of sounds to work with. We wouldn't allow any computers near the studio, everything had to be recorded to tape. We'd limit ourselves to one take because we believe the first take is the rawest expression of an idea," says Kath.) We got a look at some of these elements coming into place in the early preview "Plague," but the latest listen "Wrath of God" makes a larger climb away from Crystal Castles' recent cold pop explorations. It's a track that finds itself in a frenzied eruption of flashing synths that push Glass' vocals into the sky, lifted to a height where it sounds like she's in a panic trying to shout a warning that just doesn't register to listeners on the ground. Despite the fact its rhythm maintains the mysterious pulse that has come to define Crystal Castles' ritualistic soundscape, the menacing nature and velocity at which it moves here makes "Wrath of God" an engagingly terrifying return.

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