The abrasive attitude that was so exciting about Crystal Castles’ early work has faded away on (III) in preference of a dreamier sound. If their debut was a grimy in-your-face concert, this album is a cold labyrinth, Alice’s voice coming from the depths, buried under sinister swaths and pulses of sound.
(III) embraces complexity that was only fleetingly addressed in earlier records at the expense of immediacy and rawness. Unlike those records, this feels like a genuine album, rather than just a collection of songs.
“Insulin” features some refreshing and unnerving brutality, and Glass’s vocals buried beneath the layers of distortion reinforces the feeling of enclosure and imprisonment. “Telepath” has a dreamy yet relentless feel – one of the few instrumental tracks on the album, it benefits from the lack of vocals.
“Sad Eyes” is marred by some unfortunately ‘90s sounding keyboard, although otherwise the song has a driving momentum and real emotion to it. “Violent Youth” has a better execution of synthesizer sounds, sparks of artificiality accentuating a gentler spine.
The album ends at the centre of the labyrinth with “Child, I Will Hurt You” – the forward momentum falls away and all that’s left is a delicate and foreboding track.