Published Aug 19, 2016Despite the loss of Alice Glass in 2014 to personal and professional reasons, Toronto-based Crystal Castles have returned to the fore with a new album and new frontwoman. Making her debut on Amnesty (I), Edith Frances joins Ethan Kath, the band's longtime producer, in launching the next chapter in the band's life.
While many bands struggle to fill the void left by the departure of members, Crystal Castles have shown the chameleon-like ability to adapt and thrive within the experimental electronic music ecosystem.
At its core, Amnesty (I) maintains the crux of what made Crystal Castles so great: ethereal electronic soundscapes, glitchy melodies, piercing vocals and cacophonous outbursts just jarring enough to keep listeners on edge. The album oscillates between intimidating, in-your-face electric storms ("Fleece") to shimmering, fragile synthscapes ("Their Kindness Is Charade"). But it's the ease with which the band flows from one style to the other that suggests a strong musical partnership between Kath and Frances, from which sprung the intimate and intricate details of this fully realized album.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Frances revealed that 100 percent of the proceeds from the album would go to Amnesty International to support their human rights efforts. "It's vital for us to actually support the people taking direct action to make a difference," the band wrote on their Facebook page. "The world is at a critical tipping point."
It would be unwise to view Amnesty (I) as the rebirth of Crystal Castles; it's simply the next step in the band's evolution, a welcome return. (Last Gang)