Year of Silence
Not In Love (feat. Robert Smith)
I Am Made of Chalk
The Toronto duo Crystal Castles were like kids in a candy store on their 2009 self-titled debut: with bratty abandon, they made a record that gurgled and belched with regurgitated sounds of ancient arcade games and stylistic ping-ponging, just because they could. As pleasing as that debut was, Crystal Castles II puts the duo’s obvious passions and influences into a framework that feels more carefully considered; it's meticulously controlled and executed. There's a cohesiveness and maturity here. Any artist capable of seamlessly bridging the abrasive grit of the opening track, “Fainting Spells,” with the vaporous stardust of “Celestica” is clearly one in charge of a bold vision. Beyond the brutal stutter-and-static of “Doe Deer,” the house party of “Baptism,” and the rhythmic twee twinkling of “Year of Silence,” CCII leaps into the realm of aural art that conjures the visual. The haze of unease and sadness wrapping the delicate “Violent Dreams” and the distant vocals and distorted, sludgy guitars behind the electronic blippage of “Birds” conjures visions otherwise unseen.