Release Date: 28/10/08

Label: Slumberland


There are artists that wear their influences on their sleeve, there are artists that are slightly coy and downplay their influences; and then there’s Crystal Stilts. The Brooklyn based (What do they put in the water there?) group bluntly shout their influences from the rooftops through megaphones in homage to them. With their debut full-length release Alight of the Night it would be hard not to mention acts such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground, such is the prominence of their style involved. The contradiction though is that the five-piece outfit are so fresh sounding and unique, that they easily stand up for themselves. It would be easy to dismiss Crystal Stilts as moody sounding bastards, and that they are to a certain degree. But underneath are superb hypnotic base lines and jangly melodies to suit. The Lo-fi sound compliments this well, the production so rough and loose you can almost hear the New York traffic outside of the dingy garage from where the album could have been recorded. Garage-rock at its finest. Opener The Dazzling and its stonking base line hooks the listener mere seconds in, a perfect way to open the album, or any album. Of immediate notice next, and I hesitate to write this such is the cliché, is the Ian Curtis-esque dreamy vocals that brood their way to your ears. Throughout the album Brad Hargett’s vocals are so soaked in reverb and so downbeat it renders them often incomprehensible without a lyric sheet to hand, but again, together with the sound and melodic nature of said vocals it just works. Primatic Room and other tracks makes good use of swelling organs/keyboards, the upbeat sound playing-off well against the general style. Dancibilty almost creeps into many tracks, from up-tempo buoyancy in SinKing and self-titled song Crystal Stilts, to a more swaying affair in others such as Spiral Transit. Although the only way you could move I guess would be as in The Simpsons Homerpalooza episode where the dis-affected youth sway comically to The Smashing Pumpkins. The standing drummer Frankie Rose keeps things uncomplicated and flowing, adding to the stream of consciousness nature of things. There is some filler in the album as some the latter songs are somewhat indistinguishable from one another, but for the strength of the majority of songs it remains a damn fine listen.