Artist: Crystal Stilts
Album: Nature Noir
Label: Sacred Bones / Cargo Records
CRYSTAL STILTS first came to attention with a self-titled EP in 2005 and 2008’s “Alight of Night”, an early ripple in what would soon be perceived of as a wave of fuzzy, reverb-laden bands.
The intervening years have seen the band evolve, with 2011’s robust ,In Love With Oblivion”, and the “Radiant Door” EP, their debut release for Sacred Bones. Founded by vocalist Brad Hargett and guitarist JB Townsend, CRYSTAL STILTS have since come to include Andy Adler on bass, Keegan Cooke on drums, and organist Kyle Forester.
This five-piece has come together and crafted the band’s latest LP, “Nature Noir”. Recorded in the spring of 2013, this newest disc finds the group expanding their palette to include strings, percussion, and synthesizers. On tracks such as “Star Crawl” and “Sticks and Stones”, Hargett’s vocals have a striking clarity and soulfulness, while the musical arrangements display a sophistication that may be surprising to those who previously thought of the band as “lo-fi”.
“Nature Noir” sees The Stilts honing in on their various affinities at once. Simulcast from different pools of the past, bridging and expanding their intensive tastes in Soul, Folk, Psych, Country, Proto-punk and onward, it’s apparent that their new formulary is more subtle and fully realized than ever. Like any creation worth loving, it’s the quality of the ingredients and the unique perspective lenses of the creators that produce a marvel such as this. Pleasingly distilled in celestial darkness, floating in a sea of color drenched dreams, and grounded in protean mythology, CRYSTAL STILTS third LP sounds refreshingly bold and deep rooted within the current musical climate.
With lyrical themes probing the dark connections between the individual and its environment, along with the shadowy interdependence of nature and man, the album strikes a more emotional chord than records past. Where “Alight of Night” and “In Love With Oblivion” reveled in a place of spaced-out awe, “Nature Noir” reaches forth with a very human yearning. Unmasked, refined and lush, CRYSTAL STILTS here hint at freeform experimentation whilst holding on to their classic heritage. Retro fitted and forward committed, this is a record whose presence should be welcomed in your collection.
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