Crystal Stilts | In Love With Oblivion

Slumberland (2011)
By LIZ PELLY  |  April 6, 2011
3.5 3.5 Stars

Stilts main
With their scuzzy homonymous debut EP in 2008, Brooklyn's Crystal Stilts introduced their dreamy breed of psych-gaze noise pop, one oft recognized as having been influenced by Kiwi pop legends like the Clean, the Chills, and even Dean Wareham. Now, on their sophomore LP, their first record since the departure of ex–Vivian Girls/ex–Dum Dum Girls drummer Frankie Rose, the four-piece's obscure pop influences are even more audible. Like other Brooklyn-lo-fi bands of their generation lately, the Stilts are stepping out of the drony, inaudible post-punk shadow to craft more expansive, focused songs. Opener "Sycamore Tree" begins with a soundscape of meandering guitar, foggy organs, and shimmering tambourines before picking up at the one-minute mark with a jangly riff that sends their signature surf-inspired sound into full effect for the rest of the album. It gets spookiest on "Alien Rivers," when one slow, spacy guitar accompanies creeping, minimal vocals. But mostly, In Love with Oblivion finds the band more upbeat than ever, channeling Flying Nun–era sounds with melodic riffs, handclaps, and chugging bass. The deadpan singing remains intact, so it's easy to make Ian Curtis comparisons throughout — but this time, the vocals are less buried, so you can actually make out some of what Brad Hargett's saying. And that makes the fuzz pop that much more memorable.
Related: The Sounds | Something To Die For, Atari Teenage Riot | Is This Hyperreal?, The Coathangers | Larceny & Old Lace, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, CD reviews, New Music,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WHAT'S F'N NEXT? SWEARIN'  |  October 18, 2012
    Allison Crutchfield grew up in the punk-rock world of DIY. And with her newest band, Swearin', she's released one of the best records of the year.
  •   ROBOT INVASION!  |  October 09, 2012
    Six-legged robots, mechanical snakes, and a friendly dino-bot by the name of Butch will make new friends in Somerville this week at two free events.
  •   BEACH HOUSE'S ARTFUL MYTH  |  October 10, 2012
    Victoria Legrand opened her notebook and saw the word "Myths." "There were no other words on the page," says the Beach House singer and keyboardist. VJust JMythsM. . . . I hadn't even remembered writing it. It was magical. A total sign."
  •   HOW TO DRESS WELL...ON HOW TO DRESS WELL  |  October 03, 2012
    Given his sartorial stage name and his ear for R&B beats and avant-pop minimalism, Tom Krell of How to Dress Well certainly sounds like someone who could compose an excellent soundtrack for a runway show.
  •   SHOPPING WITH KITTY PRYDE  |  October 02, 2012
    A few weeks ago, Florida’s Kitty Pryde — everyone’s favorite red-haired teen-girl rapper — stopped by Brighton Music Hall for her much-anticipated first Boston show.

 See all articles by: LIZ PELLY