Crystal Castles

III (Fiction/Polydor)

My reservations about electro-pop stem from the genre’s reluctance to offer anything beyond chilly synths or a detached melodic sheen. With its first two records, Crystal Castles subverted this formula by humanizing its songs with distraught shrieking and an unfettered adventurous spirit. This style continues on the band’s latest, III, albeit with less vigor and slightly diminished returns. Some tracks, such as the buoyant “Wrath of God” and the sparkling “Child I Will Hurt You” are easy ear candy, while others such as stuttering, disjointed “Insulin” are nearly unbearable. Overall, III is a solid record, but solid doesn’t necessarily set Crystal Castles apart from its electro-pop peers.

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