Crystal Castles: 2 (Polydor)
My friend Pete described this as “It sounds like they’re having an awesome party one room over and I’m not invited.” I get what he means – the production is a bit murky in spots and overcrowded, but nothing sounds so immediate. Still, this is a really nice progression from their debut, a dense and gloomy synth-pop crossover album with some bite. The first song is true to their rougher origins with a shrill patience-tester, but the front half of this album is then packed with quality pop songs. Every once in a while there’s a really wack production decision (like the overly loud synth farts on “Birds”) but for the most part it’s a wonderfully successful combination of all the things that have always made CC appealing. Despite all the rougher edges of some of their earliest output, they make up for it with a moody edge that seems to push them into a new place.