Crystal Castles’ dystopian III is forebodingly awesome

Crystal Castles’ III has the ability to make a bad day better with menace.

III is the third album by Canadian duo Crystal Castles, Ethan Kath and Alice Glass, and while it keeps in line with the dystopian view of previous Crystal Castles albums, this one breathes new life into the goth/new wave genre.
Since Crystal Castles debuted in 2004 a lot of similar-sounding bands, such as Trust and Austra, have popped up. Perhaps people are becoming more aware of the weird world we’ve created prior to the apocalyptic meltdown predicted by the Mayans on December 21 . . . or maybe people just prefer honest music.

III was recorded in Warsaw and produced solely by Kath, with Glass belting out vocals that have been mishmashed in all directions. The duo chose to record the album in analogue, lending to its original-take sound. The album stays true to the choppy synths and distressed vocals of previous Crystal Castles records but seems a bit softer, if you can call it that. There’s less “Alice Practice” on this album, more “Courtship Dating.”

Two songs that really stand out on III are “Kerosene” and “Affection,” both featuring alluring hooks, strobe-y synths and Glass’s toned down vocals. “Kerosene’s” line, “I’ll protect you from all the things I’ve seen” is perhaps the thesis of the album, which is stressed and real in its lyrical offerings. Ravers will like “Violent Youth” and “Mercenary.” Listen to “Child I Will Hurt You” for Crystal Castles’ side and “Insulin” for a glitchy aural assault.

Crystal Castles have outdone themselves with III. It really sounds like nothing else out there right now, and it’s catchy enough to please the dance crowd while it’s weird enough to be original.

Rikki gives III 4 out of 5 stars.