Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion

Album cover
Post-Punk, Psychadelic
Slumberland Records
Crystal Stilts
In Love With Oblivion
Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion Review rating:
4
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Average: 4 (1 vote)

For all of the hundreds of modern groups which tender to the flavor of the day, there comes one or two who avoid current inclinations and projected sound. Post-punk outfit Crystal Stilts, are among the latter of these bands. While retaining a fresh and intriguing music direction, Crystal Stilts fuse the acid-drenched tendency of the 1960s with the murky resonances of the late 1980s. What is manufactured from all of this is a particularly unique brand of contemporary post-punk, containing a sound that cannot be traced back to just a few influences, but numerous groups throughout the past several decades. The most blatantly obvious of these inspirations however, stems from the melancholic giants Joy Division; featuring the murky and abstract song structuring that defined the post-punk genre.

Take a look at the album cover of Crystal Stilts’ 2011 affair, In Love With Oblivion. At a quick glance, one may identify what appears to be the moon and some distant stars, but after additional examination, questions start to be raised. What are those things below the moon? What the hell is going on in the upper left corner? Does this have anything to do with the album itself? Well to answer the last inquiry, it may very well have something to do with the music on the record. In Love With Oblivion is a moody and predominantly dark release; demonstrating no need for fireworks or flashy instrumentation. Shrouded in ambiguity, the album progresses at its own pace and provokes an interesting sentiment throughout. Underneath the ominous tones and brooding vocals shine through tiny specs of light, emulated by the shimmer of the keyboards and guitar work. This facet provides the record with a remarkably melodious and somewhat infectious ambience, which is most notably demonstrated through tracks such as “Shake the Shackles” and “Through the Floor.” The jangly keyboards are what presents In Love With Oblivion with its psychedelic traits, which is something that does not cease to exist on Crystal Stilts’ latest release. In fact, In Love With Oblivion draws several comparisons to The Doors, the most chief pertaining to the dynamic energy of the keyboards and Brad Hargett’s vocal allusions to Jim Morrison. With all of this said, In Love With Oblivion showcases a great deal of pop-appeal, whether this is demonstrated through the celestial “Invisible City” or the reverb-saturated “Prometheus at Large.”

If their debut Alight of Night indicated anything, it was that Crystal Stilts are an extremely distinctive find in present-day music. In Love With Oblivion’s sinister, yet oddly catchy predispositions only further this statement. Melding an unorthodox combination of 1960s psychedelic with post-punk and pop sensibilities, Crystal Stilts’ second full-length release is one of the year’s most fascinating records to date, and may just rank among the year’s greatest. Regardless, Crystal Stilts could only be discovering their stride with In Love With Oblivion, signifying that their magnum opus may not be far away.

1. Sycamore Tree
2. Through the Floor
3. Silver Sun
4. Alien Rivers
5. Half a Moon
6. Flying into the Sun
7. Shake the Shackles
8. Precarious Stair
9. Invisible City
10. Blood Barons
11. Prometheus at Large

Crystal Stilts is a Brooklyn, N.Y., quartet. Its sound -- equally droll, moody and buoyant -- has roots in early '80s Manchester pop as well as in minimalist garage-rock acts. The band has drawn comparisons to Interpol, Joy Division and early The Jesus and Mary Chain -- with whom it also shares a penchant for stand-up drumming in the manner of The Velvet Underground's Maureen "Moe" Tucker. ... read more

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