Crystal Stilts – In Love With Oblivion

They sure kept us waiting a long ass time, but CRYSTAL STILTS sophomore effort finally hit shelves this month thanks to the Slumberland folk. It takes a few runs through, but this stuff manages to grow on you in a different way than “Alight of Night”.

The Stilts still stick to their familiar sound, coming together with Brad Hargetts signature lifeless vocals, which never really acts as the highlight to any song. But man does it work perfectly for their strung-out sound. They take a more poppy route in general this time around, with bruising rhythms, glowing guitar hooks and circus-esque keys that give songs an unsettling quality (“Syacamore Tree”, “Invisible City”, “Prometheus at Large”). These synths supply songs with a colorful texture, and they keep you guessing from song to song. “In Love With Oblivion” doesn’t exactly come off as an instant classic like from 2008, but it’s still easily likable and listenable and as soon as it works it’s way under your skin you’ll be aching to hear more.

There’s plenty to like about this entire album, whether it’s the catchy song titles (like “Prometheus at Large”, “Alien Rivers”, “Precarious Stair”) or just their ability to vary their sound from track to track. “Alien Rivers” is a progressively growing seven minute psych jam, featuring creeping guitars that push forward and they’re absolutely dripping with attitude. There’s all types of guitar work and jangly drumming, with sweeping synths that supply much substance – without them this jammer might get a bit stale. In regards to the full album, this track definitely comes from far out in left field. The synth solos create a confusing and equally brooding vibe, which in the end will only keep you coming back for another listen.

“Half a Moon” comes next and puts the unsettling pop vibes back in the forefront. It’s glistening with frantic energy and features guitars that cut like daggers. Then there’s a track like “Death is What We Live For,” with punchy bass lines that drifts off into a segment of odd obscurity – vaguely reminding me of Barrett-era Pink Floyd – before falling back to the poppy rhythm. “Sycamore Tree” kicks off the album and keeps you guessing before it finally takes off. Wonky bass lines push forward and the twangy guitar licks float right above, which gives you the feeling you’re endlessly spinning in circles. Following that up is arguably the single from the album (along with “Shake the Shackles”), which is a shuffled and highly reverberated pop anthem. Glowing guitar hooks and kaleidoscopic synths characterize this song greatly (which helps explain the music video), along with an echoing drum clap that’s just great.

Once these songs spend a little time knocking around the old ear canal, you’ll find yourself begging to hear these tunes more and more. “Through the Floor” might be the first to prove that statement, amongst others. Right away it might not seem like this is anything like “Alight of Night,” but give it some time and you’ll find your own ways to distinguish between the two – as well as ways to compare. Now hear for yourself with these tracks below.

Sycamore Tree –

Through the Floor –

Shake the Shackles –

Death is What We Live For –

My Rating: 8.2/10
Genre/ Tags: Indie Rock, Pop, Psychedelic
In Love With Oblivion: Tracklist:
1.) Sycamore Tree
2.) Through the Floor
3.) Silver Sun
4.) Alien Rivers
5.) Half a Moon
6.) Flying Into the Sun
7.) Shake the Shackles
8.) Precarious Stair
9.) Invisible City
10.) Death is What We Live For
11.) Prometheus at Large

PRE-ORDER the LP directly from Insound
Crystal Stilts on Myspace
Crystal Stilts – Shake the Shackles 7″ previously posted on the Drone
Find Crystal Stilts in our Top 30 7″ Records of 2010

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