It’s 16 years since the Avalanches’ era-defining ‘Since I Left You’. How can a follow-up that took so long sound so meh?
Album Review: Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion (Fortuna Pop!)
Welding shimmering melodies to joyous nihilism, the Brooklyn noise-poppers’ second shines, darkly
It’s not so much a departure as just, well, better. For every one of Brad Hargett’s nonchalantly droning vocals, there’s a melody that shimmers and sparkles with all the pop nous of any ’60s great; Crystal Stilts, like The Cure or The Jesus And Mary Chain before them, understand that the beauty is in the balance.
Lead single and highlight ‘Shake The Shackles’ epitomises this with gorgeous ease. Its opening gambit may read like an excerpt from Elliott Smith’s most tortured diary (“When will we discover the place that we buried love/And resurrect all of the lovers?/We cried so long for one another”), but the fuzzy layers of infectious riffs, organs and tambourine shakes gloom clear with a hopeful, dappled-sunlight brilliance. ‘Through The Floor’ stomps along like Bowie hitting the West Coast, while ‘Half A Moon’ is all Hammond organs and acid-soaked exuberance, and ‘Death Is What We Live For’ is part Iggy, part Lou, part Brian Jonestown and all genius.
‘In Love With Oblivion’ dips its toe in cross-continental waters from Warhol’s Factory to Manchester’s, but from start to finish Crystal Stilts have produced something that’s defiantly, distinctively ruled only by itself. Take out the vocals on ‘Silver Sun’ or ‘Invisible City’ and the last 40 years might as well not have happened; add them back in, however, and you’ve got the kind of glorious contradiction that’s post-nothing.
Order a copy of Crystal Stilts' 'In Love With Oblivion' from Amazon
A sequel that’s faster, flashier and more bombastic than the original
The sequel to Independence Day has been 20 years in the making, and it’s quite stupid but kinda fun
Minus Tom DeLonge, the pop-punk icons prove their worth on album seven
Mount returns both fearless and eccentric on bold new album