Apr 062011
Authors: Nic Turiciano

Flying into the sun would feel pretty good at first. The warmth, freedom of flight, knowledge of an end destination, it all sounds nice. But then the panic would set in. After all, it’s the sun … knowing when to turn around is important.

The image popped up while listening to Crystal Stilts’ new album, “In Love with Oblivion.” It’s the band’s sophomore effort, and the sound hasn’t changed. There’s still glittery guitars, swirling organ and vocals reminiscent of the most morbid Joy Division cuts.

As with their debut album, the production is inescapable. The songs are dense and flattened, trading depth for a nostalgic experience for that which never was. It’s a dealmaker or deal-breaker, depending on your tastes.

While the presentation is the defining aspect, the meat is still in the music. Album highlight, “Shake the Shackles,” is a beauty. From its intro, a panning left-to-right play between organ and guitar, to its last note, it twists and turns around at the right moments.

Too many of the tracks, however, never change rails. A prime example is the sixth song on the record, “Flying into the Sun.” It starts off as a warm, introspective jingle. But, by then end, it’s no longer warm. It’s claustrophobic, and claustrophobic introspection sounds a lot like anxiety.

The lack of variation within the songs drags many of them down. It’s a disappointment because there’s a lot of potential on “In Love with Oblivion.” Each track has its moments, showing that Crystal Stilts knows how to make good music.

Hopefully their next record will translate good music into good songs because, while one comprises the other, they are independent. It takes the ability to know when to go forth and, more importantly, when to turn around to make a marriage of the two.

If you disagree, you should contact Nic Turiciano at verve@collegian.com. And even if you don’t, pretend you do.

 Posted by at 4:36 pm

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