Lately I can’t stop listening to this new track. Perhaps it’s because it’s by a group that is one of my favorite to hit the scene in the past couple of years..and perhaps it’s also because they’ve collaborated with a man who has for many years had an indelible impact on my musical life.
Toronto’s electro-rock duo Crystal Castles, who are easily one of the hottest indie buzz acts of the past couple of years have teamed up with Robert Smith of The Cure for a re-do of one of the tracks on their newest record, ‘Crystal Castles (II)’.
Crystal Castles (who are Ethan Kath and Alice Glass) have taken both the indie scene and dance floors by storm since their 2008 self-titled debut album with their frenzied 80’s synthesizer-meets-modern-noise combination. Even their name is in perfect concert with what they do if you’re, you know, old like me and remember playing the game Crystal Castles on Atari back in the day. (this point is even further illustrated by the fact the duo uses a keyboard inside which they’ve spliced in an old Atari 5600 sound card).
This track, “Not In Love”, was originally buried (track 12 of 14) on ‘Crystal Castles (II)’ that arrived in April of this year. Granted, the song itself was a cover version in the first place. The orginal is from a 1983 album called ‘Standing In The Dark’ from new wave band and fellow Torontonians Platinum Blonde.
Crystal Castles (feat. Robert Smith) – “Not In Love”
The collaboration came about when the duo met Robert as the support act for a February 2009 Cure concert at London’s O2 Arena.
It’s true that I thoroughly enjoy the vocals of Alice Glass (despite the fact that the processing on her voice on the album version resembles The Chipmunks), but this new version bearing the unmistakable voice of Mr. Smith is simply fantastic and infectious, and I can’t get enough of plopping it down at all of my dj gigs around town.
And it’s not as if Crystal Castles weren’t doing well on their own. Even before the heavy clout of Smith behind this project, the duo has garnered over 70 million plays on Myspace and Lastfm. Meanwhile, tracks on this new album have been remixed by the legendary Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and upstart shoegaze-y indie group No Age. Not too shabby for a group that has practically zero radio play nor TV exposure.
Today marks the actual digital-only release of “Not In Love” featuring Robert Smith, despite the fact that it has made frantic rounds already online. But you should go ahead and get it, because the legit download also gets you demo versions of two tracks: “Celestica” and “Suffocation”.
Now, if you really want to have some fun..here’s both the Crystal Castles album version of the song, and also the original by Platinum Blonde. It’s fun to sort of follow along the progression of the track, and interesting to see how talented artists today can make a track that is nearly 30 years old sound fresh as a daisy.
Crystal Castles – “Not In Love” (album version)
Platinum Blonde – “Not In Love” (1983 original)
Perhaps Ethan, Alice and Robert can plot out some further ideas on which to work as both groups will be playing “Bestival” on the Isle of Wight in Britain in early September 2011. It’ll be the Cure’s only festival appearance of the year.
The Crystal Castles train, though, will continue to chug on with another North American tour early in the year, with a Chicago date at the Riviera on 12th March. Details forthcoming.