I just want Crystal Castles that sounds like real Crystal Castles.
At the start of this year, American experimental/electro-noise group Health released what has been one of the better music videos I’ve seen in 2017 so far – the bittersweet ‘Euphoria‘. The film clip compiles the quartet’s past music videos as well as live footage from their heavier, noise-rock beginnings ten years ago, through to their stellar ‘Death Magic‘ era in 2015, and right up to 2017, where the quartet is now noticeably a trio. The video showed that yes, longtime member Jupiter Keyes had sadly moved on from the Cali outfit and would be stepping into a producer-like writer role for other artists.
One such collab recently came to fruition with Keyes working with former Crystal Castles frontwoman, Alice Glass for the now solo singer’s newest track; the vulnerable yet sugary and colourful ‘Without Love‘. Her first release since 2015’s aggro, distortion-heavy single, ‘Stillbirth‘, ‘Without Love‘ was, of course, written by Glass, with additional writing and production by the former Health member. Yet considering the pedigree here…the song just doesn’t live up to the hype I feel. As while not a bad song by any means, it just doesn’t quite grab one in the same enthralling way that the singer’s old band did with the utter bangers like ‘Baptism‘, ‘Vanished‘, ‘Vietnam‘, ‘Not In Love‘, ‘Affection‘, ‘Empathy‘, newer songs like ‘Kept‘, or any of Health’s standout repertoire.
The obviously synth-driven song has a very Grimes-like feel to it as well, which is more than fine for me – even Grimes herself was originally inspired Glass’s work with Crystal Castles‘ first few records. Yet compared with Glass’s older work and the great music that Keyes has been apart of with Health, (as well as Grimes material) I just feel that on ‘Without Love‘, she is lacking the same kind of heart she once had – much like the band the frontwoman left in 2014.
Maybe it’ll grow on me over time but currently, there are other, better Health and Crystal Castles songs I’ll jump to instead of this. However, I do hope that the duo of Glass and Keyes continues in the future, as I just know that there’s some real gold to be had with such a team.
Oh, and as for Crystal Castles last record, 2016’s ‘Amnesty (I)’, well, The Needle Drop’s Anthony Fantano says it best in his review.