Crystal Stilts: The Pursuit Of Ambiguity

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "The Dazzled"
  • Artist: Crystal Stilts
  • CD: Alight of Night
  • Genre: Rock
Crystal Stilts 300

In "The Dazzled," the Brooklyn band Crystal Stilts focuses more on distortion than enunciation. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Crystal Stilts, one of the many high-profile "Crystal" bands to pop up in 2008 (see also: Crystal Antlers, Crystal Castles), has drawn comparisons to everyone from The Velvet Underground, Joy Division and The Jesus and Mary Chain to less obvious '60s groups like The Seeds. But by exploring these depths and darkened corners of British Invasion psychedelia and brooding post-punk, the Brooklyn band's debut, Alight of Night, shakes up its predecessors enough to propel itself into newer territory.

A woozy, poppy album-opener, "The Dazzled" is all about setting a mood. Buried under layers of distortion and swaths of reverb, the song benefits from its lack of sonic clarity: The guitars and droning Farfisa organs feel distant, the echoing drums and tambourines disconnected. All of this seems to mirror singer Brad Hargett's mumbling, haunting vocals: It's virtually impossible to parse his words, but that ambiguity was almost certainly the goal. Whatever Hargett is trying to say, it's not as important as the wash of evocative sounds around him.

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Crystal Stilts

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