Crystal Castles – ( III ) – (2012; Polydor)
Crystal Castle’s signature upbeat yet simultaneously somber synths and melodies caress the ear like the sounds of a beautiful car crash and bring listeners into an ethereal realm of chaos. Titles and lyrics of tracks like “Affection,” “Kerosene” and “Child I Will Hurt You” ring true and deep in the tradition of poets like Sylvia Plath. Singer Glass’ haunting, echoey vocals and Kath’s choppy, moving synths make (III) the perfect background album for any occasion— whether it’s weekend study sessions, a late night drive or a rave tucked into a secluded part of town.
Trial track: “Child I Will Hurt You”
– Andria Caputo
Christina Aguilera – Lotus (2012; RCA)
Christina Aguilera’s latest album Lotus provides one or two catchy hits but fails to deliver any real substance. This 57-minute long “deluxe album” has 17 tracks, each showcasing Aguilera experimenting with a new sound. Packed with power ballads, club hits and summer anthems, this album is a constant search for a new, specific style.
“Your Body” screams classic Aguilera, with infectious beats and provocative lyrics like “So don’t even tell me your name/All I need to know is whose place”. It is sure to please lifelong fans as well as new ones. But unlike last year’s single “Moves Like Jagger” with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, this year’s collaborations with fellow The Voice judges Cee-Lo Green and Blake Shelton do not provide the same wow factor. The album’s first single and title track seems equally unimpressive and drenched in auto-tune. Aguilera’s attempt at being “of the moment” fails in a repetitive first track and Lotus as a whole.
Trial track: “Let There Be Love”
– Selina Gard
The Soupcans – Good Feelings (2012; Telephone Explosion Records)
Recorded in a bike shop, Good Feelings sports a live feel, with very little done in the way of music production. The lyrics are guttural, the drums pounding and the heavily distorted guitars cutting, making for a visceral experience.
While the Toronto born post-punk rockers provide an aggressive and thoroughly authentic punk album, it’s unfortunately at the expense of interesting musicianship — because every song, every second is just a collection of bleeding guitars and vocal shrieks. In the end, it sounds like someone found a way to make music from the dial-up and fax machine warbles we used to hear in the 90s.
Even though the album clocks in at twenty-two minutes long, it’s too long for most listeners, draining even the most patient. That being said, fans of genuine punk may enjoy the screeches of the eleven track Soupcans debut.
Trial track: “Outlander”
Rating: 3 / 10
– A.J. Cordeiro