Not many music artists are into the dark-electro pop field. At least not many good artists. Except for Canadian electronic experimental duo Crystal Castles. They had recently released their third jam-packed, rave-enhanced album (III), after launching their career with their previous well-received albums, their debut Crystal Castles in 2008 and its successor (II) in 2010. With (III), Crystal Castles has effortlessly epitomized the emphatic noise of pop and dark electronic beats, with haunting lyrics, groovy samples, and serene echoes. However for some music listeners, Crystal Castles may come off too strong and a little too intense — and to some extent, unusually creepy. But with lead singer Alice Glass’ varying voice and producer Ethan Kath’s effervescent sound, Crystal Castles has helped bond a huge gap between pop and electronic. (III) gathers some similar-sounding songs to that of their prime resonance, which include the rave-infused “Plague,” and the hip and slow-tempoed jingle “Kerosene.” Crystal Castles definitely reaches a huge milestone with “Wrath of God,” a head-banging rage-filled song that uniquely defines the link between slow electronic and pop-induced disco. Ultimately, “Wrath of God” automatically becomes one of the strongest off of (III). “Affection” is a tune very much alike to Crystal Castles’ acclaimed track “Baptism” from (II). “Pale Flesh” and “Sad Eyes” depict both of a somewhat melancholic and joyful rhythm, fusing together through staggering electronic clicks and blips. Interludes like “Insulin” define Crystal Castle’s unique style very well, but it is not a high point within the album. “Transgender” comes off as a deep and dark hole of imaginative thrill, making you think of the music in those old Super Mario games when Mario went into Bowser’s castle or playing Slenderman on your computer. “Violent Youth” contains a lot of similar material from “Pale Flesh,” which, in this case, is still beneficial to the album, providing a steady consistency throughout each track. Both “Telepath” and “Mercenary” offer a relatively edgier sound out of the rest of the album. The last track “Child I Will Hurt You” is probably one track off of (III) that will be easiest to listen to, mainly because of its interesting similarity to Beach Houses’ “Wishes” and that it is the softest and calmest track out of all of Crystal Castles’ albums. But that can also be said about their last track “Tell Me What to Swallow” from their self-titled debut and “I Am Made of Chalk” from (II). I guess this shows that to every dark side, there is always a good one as well and that out of every sad beginning, the outcome is mostly a happy ending.
(III) may not live up to the standards of Crystal Castles’ two previous albums and especially not with their classic hits, “Alice Practice” and “Not in Love,” but they do provide a wide variety of new material that is engaging and mind-numbing. Crystal Castles’ innovative and stylish sound make them stand out of the crowd of so-far unrecognized electro-experimental noise duos.