Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crystal Stilts do Hazelwood, Blue Orchids

A five-song EP from the Brookyn drone-pop romantics who were, last time I saw them, dreadful live, but pretty damned good on record. The EP is most remarkable for its two interesting covers -- one of Lee Hazelwood's "Still of the Night" the other (the main reason I put it on the player in the first place) Blue Orchids' "Low Profile."

anyway, reviewed for Blurt a day or two ago.

Crystal Stilts
Radiant Door
(Sacred Bones)

Crystal Stilts has always worked in a glamorous murk, submerging spectral melodies in pools of reverb, shrouding strident post-punk rhythms in a penumbra of distortion. Their debut, Alight of Night, threaded hopelessly romantic hooks through a dungeon cavern of echo, the doomy miasma as much a part of the sound as the tunes themselves. Yet here, on this five-song EP, the band reaches for a measure of clarity. Perhaps it's the assistance of Gary Olson, he of the super-clean, super-clear Ladybug Transistor; perhaps there's more money for production; or perhaps the band just feels that their music has matured enough to bear closer scrutiny. In any case, Radiant Door is sharper and more focused than any Crystal Stilts recording to date. The hand-claps (yes, hand-claps) on opener "Dark Eyes" practically leap out of the mix, and the guitar strums that keep time with them are only a hair less startling. Yes, there's a fair bit of organ drone for blurry continuity and Brad Hargett is still singing as if from the bottom of a well, but this is a brighter, more lucid Crystal Stilts than before.


Crystal Stilts - Dark Eyes by sacredbones

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