Track Review: Crystal Castles – “Plague”

[Self-released; 2012]

Crystal Castles are no strangers to desolate, hard-hitting sounds, and their new track “Plague” is no exception to this rule. As Crystal Castles have become famous for, “Plague” features minimalistic beats and a soft-heavy dynamic that reaches a boiling point during its chorus. Layered above it all is Alice Glass’ powerful voice, which seems to be waging a war that can only be won through a vicious, formidable delivery.

It’s not always a welcoming or easy experience to listen to Crystal Castles, and “Plague” does little to change this fact. It’s a brooding, messy track with a typical lo-fi quality, but what it lacks in clarity it makes up for in energy. The music hits hard and fast, and Glass’ vocals are compelling to listen to, leaping from breathy ruminations to foreboding shrieks at the blink of an eye. The music beneath it all, however, perhaps isn’t among Crystal Castles’ best; while it’s a good example of what they do, some of the sounds in the latter half of the song are ugly and could be better described as noise rather than music. Nevertheless, for fans of Crystal Castles, “Plague” will reaffirm everything that they like about the band, and signifies that the upcoming album will be more of the same. When the same is undeniably unique, there’s little reason to change things up.