Crystal Castles, '(III)': Album Review

83 Billboard Rating

CRYSTAL CASTLES (III)

Producer Ethan Kath

Casablanca/Republic Records/Fiction

Release Date Nov. 13

At first glance, Crystal Castles' third album is even more unrelentingly bleak than its predecessors-singles are titled "Plague" and "Wrath of God," and the artwork is an image of a mother cradling a son suffering from tear gas exposure. The electro-rock duo of Alice Glass and Ethan Kath may work with a steely exterior, but "(III)" continues their creative upward trajectory by offering some of the act's most lavish pop moments.

"Kerosene" follows the haze of "Plague" with chattering, synthetic beats flanking Glass' breathy vocals, while "Sad Eyes" explodes upon contact before slinking into a multifaceted, wholly gorgeous groove.

The pair is now two albums removed from the videogame glitches of its 2008 self-titled debut and has gotten better at crafting fleshed-out arrangements. Some of "(III)" brings to mind the Wall of Sound ambitions of My Bloody Valentine, but these 12 songs are ornately crafted and are never too far from an interesting hook.

Crystal Castles aren't as cold as they appear to be, but they are calculating-(III) is an expertly produced album that, at just nearly 40 minutes, leaves fans wanting more.

Listen to "Wrath of God"

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