Crystal Castles, an experimental electronic band from Toronto, Ontario by songwriter/producer Ethan Kath, have released their forth album Amnesty.
By Jane Howkins.
Amnesty is the fourth album by electronic indie group Crystal Castles, and the first to feature new vocalist Edith Frances after the departure of Alice Glass in 2014. There were fears that the band would not be able to continue after Glass left the band, but luckily they managed to carry on, producing an album that is different to previous work but still worth checking out.
There is one thing that needs to be addressed about Amnesty first though, and that is that it’s a relatively safe record for the band to have released, which is a little surprising considering their track history. In the past, they’ve typically been very off-the-wall, never producing what was expected of them, but with the departure of Glass, that seems to have changed. That doesn’t mean that Amnesty is necessarily a bad album (it isn’t), but it could have been a lot better, and it’s sad that such an inspiring group have decided to play it so safe.
Another thing of note is the fact that their new vocalist sounds almost exactly like Glass, to the point that people who don’t know that much about the band might not even realise that they have a new singer. This strikes us as a slightly odd move, but is reassuring for fans of the band that the music they make isn’t going to change too drastically in the future.
There are some good tunes here, but it’s a little disjointed and doesn’t seem to flow all that well. Their Kindness Is Charade makes for a wonderful closer to the album, and Char shows Frances’ vocals at their very best, giving some hope for what she can bring to the band in the future. Not In Love is perhaps one of the catchiest songs that the band have ever done (perhaps a good track for newcomers to start with), however for long term fans that may seem to be a bit of a betrayal, going against the very ethos of the band.
There is much to like on Amnesty, and both newcomers and old fans will find things to like here, however it’s a shame to see an eccentric and exhilarating band making such safe music, at least in comparison to their previous efforts.