Saturday, 28 May 2016

Album: Crystal Shipsss - Holly

Crystal Shipss Holly

Info: On Crystal Shipsss’ 4th album Holly bubblegum pop and lo-fi weirdness collides with noisy outbursts! Holly is the first Crystal Shipsss album recorded in Faurholt’s native country Denmark, where he moved to after five years in Berlin. He more or less recorded the album solely in his home studio. The only outside contributions came in form of backing vocals from his girlfriend Nadia Sharpe and long-time Crystal Shipsss collaborator Jens Christian Madsen who co-mixed the album. As with the other CS albums Holly was mastered by James Plotkin (ISIS, Nadja, Khanate). Faurholt recorded the album in a spontaneous burst of creativity after quitting his full time teaching job. 

Holly opens with a heart-breaking and honest title-track; 'Holly don't leave your heart in between the grass and the leaves, you lost your baby, and now, now you have to grieve', musically beautiful, and while the album is fully focused on pop sounds, they shouldn't belie it's thematic undercurrent. The following track 'Flowers' opens with an 80's electro bass chug, Faurholt's vocals attaching an emotion to it's care-free mood. 

'Love' is a lo-fi and hauntingly sparse piece, staid percussion and off-tune vocals providing a curious and almost uneasy listen until the static fuzz of guitars launches itself upon the track, that same percussion gently resonating deep in the background. The care-free atmosphere continues strongly on 'World', guitars are quite post-punk on this, there's also an attractiveness to the simplicity, which seems to be an aim of Crystal Shipsss all across Holly, you can engage with the music without having to overly strain your investment, making the experience all the more enjoyable.

'Robots' is probably the most contemplative song on the album, there's a seriousness to it, but it's completely spacial, a drift away and disappear into the music track which works very well. On 'Captain' we're plugged into indie-rock territory, but with the band's electro imprint, tiny spurts of Air trickle over the guitar-driven motion. The 8-track album closes with 'Eerie', a blissful finale, and to be honest I'm not sure what kind of journey I've been on having listened to Holly a number of times, it's certainly different, it's experimental, and I always love a piece of music that challenges me, as is the case here. I think the biggest plus of the album is that on a basic level you can enjoy it, but it demands that the listener spend time with it in order to fully appreciate it, not in an inaccessible way, but with a promise of reward.

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