Crystal Castles – “Amnesty (I)” (2016)


Label: Fiction/Casablanca Records/Caroline

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Crystal Castles are Ethan Kath and Edith Frances. While Ethan formed the band in 2003, this is Edith‘s first album after the departure of Alice Glass – this is notable as many did not think Crystal Castles would continue after Alice left, however here we are with “Amnesty (I)”. Musically they are in the realm of Ladytron or The Presets, having an aggressive electronic style. On “Amnesty (I)” there is straightforward approach to the instrumental elements, tending to techno and trance most of the time. The vocals are delivered with tortured variety; snatches of sound which rarely form words are as regular as lyrical passages. “Concrete” has a music video which gives you a good idea of what to expect with “Amnesty (I)”. “Enth” has a distressed vocal over a slightly dark techno mix. “Chloroform” has alternating watery to industrial backing music along with a drifting vocal. “Ornament” is full of short truncated vocal snippets creating their own rhythm (though I found them annoying). “Sadist” has a ticking beat and delicate vocal with a switch between minimal and wall-of-sound backing. “Frail” has a big beat and distant anthem chorus crossed with intimate vocal interludes. As can be seen from the descriptions, each song has its own personality though they are a little too robotic – it would be good to hear the band perform to bring the songs alive in a concert venue. In general “Amnesty (I)” is a well crafted set, though there is no song which rises above the mix, this could easily be the theme music for a lonely drive through dirty streets on a rainy night.

Rating – 76/100



  1. Femen
  2. Fleece
  3. Char
  4. Enth
  5. Sadist
  6. Teach Her How to Hunt
  7. Chloroform
  8. Frail
  9. Concrete
  10. Ornament
  11. Their Kindness Is Charade


Line Up

  • Edith Frances – Vocals
  • Ethan Kath – Instruments, songwriter, production & vocals
  • Christopher Chartrand – Drums




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