RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 16TH 2013, SACRED BONES
We know, we know…it’s easy to see CRYSTAL STILTS as just another bunch of Brooklyn hipsters, and shoegaze outfits are ten-a-penny these days; but this album gets the balance just right. The group’s surf jangle of old is replaced with a thick, persistent, almost droning approach, which suits Brad Hargett’s voice – an almost-catatonic, deadpan drawl, as if he’s permanently about to nod out in a narcotic fug – perfectly.
However, it’s not drone-rock sludge and within the tracks are little pop touches, which lend them a poignant, beautiful quality – the ethereal linking section between chorus and verse in ‘Star Crawl’, or the Beatles-esque strings on ‘Memory Room’, for example. There are lots of 60s-esque effects and chord sequences all over this record, and it has a very warm, cosy, late-night feel.
The album gets off to a mega start when ‘Spirit in Front of Me’ staggers in, followed by ‘Star Crawl’ being a bit like a come-up when the world is shiny and bright. ‘Future Folklore’ is about as much of a rock-out as the Stilts (do people call them ‘The Stilts’?) get, before the sweet, fey, slightly drunken pop of ‘Sticks and Stones’. ‘Melody Room’ and title track ‘Nature Noir’ also stand out, but a couple of the more meandering tracks, ‘Darken The Door’ and ‘Electrons Rising’ are kinda skipable, so the album’s not exactly perfect. However, it is the sound of a band really finding their sound and mastering their craft while many of their contemporaries (The Strokes for example) languish.