With their third studio album, Crystal Castles mine beauty and solace from the depths of darkness and violence. The darkwave duo's (III) opens with “Plague,” in which Ethan Kath layers haunting electronic textures over stabbing beats before Alice Glass’ icy vocals provide a comforting contrast. There’s a similar duality in the following “Kerosene,” where Kath’s production yields an unsettling backdrop of pointy tones playing at anxiety-building tempos. This builds into a nightmarish darkness balanced against Glass’ alleviating coos, which sound as if she’s whispering to us from under bed sheets. When she closes the song by singing “I’ll protect you/From all the things I’ve seen," it’s as if she’s taken on the protective persona depicted in the album art: a Muslim woman sheltering her son from tear-gas attacks. Without being overtly thematic or conceptual, III is still a very focused album—more than any of Crystal Castles’ preceding recordings. In the standout “Transgender,” Kath bends cold synthesizer notes over a brooding bass drone to create a disturbing soundscape for Glass’ incandescent voice to illuminate.