When Alice Glass left Crystal Castles last year, a brief online spat with remaining member Ethan Kath followed. Kath wrote that his former partner had been wrongly credited for songs that he’d written and “didn’t appear on Crystal Castles’ best known songs” – something Glass strongly refuted, saying she had written almost all of the lyrics, vocal melodies and “shaped the sound and aesthetic” of the duo from the start.
Now, Glass is hitting back with her first piece of music since quitting the band. ‘Stillbirth’ comes accompanied with a statement about, presumably, her relationship with Kath (she never explicitly names him or Crystal Castles) and how she was “talked down to, yelled at, locked into rooms and criticised daily about my abilities, my weight, my looks, my intelligence and almost every move I made”. When she yells “I want to start again!” over and over on the track, it’s hard not to connect it to anything but Glass freeing herself from a toxic relationship.
Musically, it’s not worlds apart from Crystal Castles, all discordant electro noise colliding underneath Glass’ strained, urgent vocals. There are lulls between the storms of sound – perhaps hints at the track’s yet-to-be revealed “sister song that Glass describes as a “lullaby” – that offer pensive breaks in the chaos, only for it to build back up again, like the waves of a tsunami crashing down one by one.
‘Stillbirth’ is the sound of the Canadian singer releasing a truckload of pent-up emotions. It’s angry, raw and uncompromising – a battering ram aimed right at the heart at those who’ve wronged her and a spine-tingling rise from the ashes. It’s also the start of what looks to be a very exciting and promising solo career from Glass. With ‘Stillbirth’, she’s finally got the new start that she’s been fighting for.