History always repeats itself, right? Right. Well, today we have a good example of that: both mid-aughts alt bands Beach House and Crystal Castles have released new singles in advance of new records. While both bands couldn’t be any more different, their histories are somewhat tied: both released big albums in the years 2008, 2010, and 2012 and are “coming back” this year. So, are the new sounds any good? And whose is more likely worth your time? Let’s discuss.
DESCRIPTION: Beach House’s new song is called “Sparks” from their forthcoming album Depression Cherry. (Terrible, terrible name.) The song is like a weird alternate universe Psych-Rock incarnation of Beach House. This is their wannabe My Bloody Valentine moment. Victoria Legrand’s vocals feel quite a bit more hoarse than they usually do and, despite claims at being a “return to simplicity.” Meh. No: it’s just a turn to noise. They’re confusing simplicity and rawness for Alex Scally’s guitars being distorted to a loud buzzing. The lyrics are fine, too.
VERDICT: Sounds like they’ve baked enough to reach some sort of transcendental guitar warble. At least to them, that is.
DESCRIPTION: Technically their second attempt after the botched debut of “Frail,” the new song is the much tougher “Decide.” The resulting song sees Crystal Castles rocketing a song from 1998 clubs to 2015 much in the way that Grimes did with “REALiTi“: it’s commentary on trance without being trance. Post-trance? Sure. As I described it to a friend, it’s like a “smothered rave hit by way of a ghost stuck in the boombox that plays it.” There’s a sensitivity and loveliness to the song hidden in it’s aggressiveness. It is a quick near five minute play and is an excellent introduction to (sometimes asshole) Ethan Kath’s new
Alice Glass collaborator Edith. The lyrics are as dance-emo as CC has always been. No surprise there.
VERDICT: This is a perfect post-Glass Crystal Castles song and a perfect evolution of their sound. I think you will not agree with me.
FINAL VERDICT: Crystal Castle clearly know their aesthetic and are hammering it forward. Not as experimental as Beach House’s latest, sure, but Crystal Castles’ effort is undoubtedly confident. That is unmistakeable.