Crystal Stilts – Alight At Night

For a band apparently so obsessed with light (the tracklisting for Crystal Stilts’ deut album ‘Alight of Night’ includes the words dazzled, crystal, prismatic, shine, gaze and bright), Crystal Stilts are a pretty dark bunch.

Opener ‘The Dazzled’ starts with a promising riff and has a pulsing if predictable chord sequence. Singer Brad Hargett sounds like he’s trying to break the world record for the highest number of marshmallows someone can cram in their mouth. Whilst singing. Wrapped in cotton wool. Underwater.

The track ‘Crystal Stilts’ has a Smiths-eqsue melody that makes the limbs want to dance, and will do well on the radio, but again Brad’s vocal fuzzy misery makes it sound like anything other than shoe gazing would be very inappropriate.

The moody drawling is pierced with glimmering moments of genius, such as ‘Shattered Shine’ and ‘Verdant Gaze’, which has a late Lennon feeling opening. Other than this it all merges into one and before you know it there’s a nagging voice in your subconscious telling you to furrow your eyebrows, don some black, and get down to the 1980s club night.

It’s not really clear what Crystal Stilts are trying to be. It’s not that they can’t be creative and innovative, but Crystal Stilts have too many sounds going on, layers which muffle and merge into one another, resulting in not a lot of dimensions. It’s clear these guys are big fans of Joy Division and Jesus and the Mary Chain, but surely there’s other ways of making moody and menlancholic music. Maybe it is good underneath the fuzz and reverbs. But I can’t help thinking I could create similar music by plugging in Henry the Hoover over the demo button on my keyboard. Just not as cool obviously.

Published by Francesca Baker

Passionate about music, the world, exploring, literature and smiling. Writing, marketing and events for all my favourite things.

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