Courtesy of Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles’ Myspace
To this day, I have no idea what the lyrics to my favorite Crystal Castles song are. There are, of course, ways around this (i.e. that all-knowing Google search bar), but there’s something infinitely captivating about having no idea what lead singer Alice Glass is screeching, cooing and gasping over instrumentalist Ethan Kath’s playful electronic beats.
Considering that she’s almost entirely unintelligible for the majority of Crystal Castle’s songs, Glass is much more of a sound maker than a singer. While occasional tidbits like “you shrug it off” are recognizable throughout “Alice Practice,” the song that landed the band a record deal after it was accidentally recorded and distributed on MySpace, the majority of Glass’s vocals resemble the simple sounds of a babbling six-month-old.
It’s that babbling that separates Crystal Castles from other electronica bands. The duo’s synthesized sound, which often resembles the chaotic soundtrack of an oldschool arcade game, is simultaneously dark, poppy and danceable but it’s Glass’s vocals that transform the songs from a series of beeps and swirls to a layered arrangement that borders on genius. The lack of clarity in her lyrics takes the focus away from the words themselves and lets the overall effect of each song speak for itself. “Untrust Us” and “Courtship Dating” stand out on the band’s self-titled debut as whirlwind musical adventures in a world where everything is pixelated and bleeds neon pink and green.
One of these days I might just give in to curiosity and look up exactly what it is Glass is singing about, but until then I’m going to keep singing, “Bah ooh wah oh ooh ooh.”
—By Asst Entertainment Editor Franchesca Winters