The City In the Sea
Alight of Night contains new recordings of older songs from Crystal Stilts’ self-titled EP (such as their first single “Shattered Shine,” a pretty bauble cloaked in haze) along with newer material. And while the sound is still decidedly low-fi, there is a fuller, more emphatic edge here. Vivian Girls drummer Frankie Rose joins up, and her primitive style fits perfectly with the Stilts’ raw keyboards and gritty guitar mewlings. From the beginning, back in 2003, it was clear the band had dosed themselves with early Velvet Underground drone, shadowy Joy Division undertones, and ‘60’s psych-pop melodies, but on Alight of Night another genre comes to light, that of the ripe Dunedin, New Zealand music scene of the ‘80s. Listen to “Crystal Stilts” or “The Dazzled” and try not to think of the Chills’ “Pink Frost,” or the Clean’s “Point That Thing Somewhere Else.” The shambling, jangly spirit and Casio keys of the Dunedin sound drives tracks like the darkly beautiful “Shattered Shine,” and the melancholy “Prismatic Room.” However, the Stilts dress it all up in a mope rock vibe: there is no “pop” to be found here, hyphenated or otherwise. And that’s a good thing.