Crystal Stilts – Alight Of Night (Slumberland)
There’s very little originality lurking around the deep canyon reverb that drips throughout Crystal Stilts‘ first full length. If one could manage to hear whatever Brad Hargett is warbling, I’m sure they’d find it to be positively pessimistic and fueled by dread. If one could transcribe JB Townsend‘s guitar work, they’d find some embarrassingly simple chord progressions within that spring-loaded fretwork. And if one could gander at the collected record collection of Crystal Stilts’ members, they’d find more than one copy of the Velvet Underground‘s third record, Unknown Pleasures, and a few well-worn editions of Psychocandy.
Theoretically, you’ve already heard Alight Of Night before, and if that repetition bothers you than read no further. But had I discounted all of the derivative records that I’ve come across throughout the years, I would have missed a whole bunch of bands that started out under the influence before transforming themselves into credible torchbearers.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing on Crystal Stilts’ debut that even hint at future greatness and there’s very little to suggest that they’ll be the subjects of further examination by any doe-eyed supporters who plan on picking up an instrument or two out of shear inspiration from this Brooklyn quartet. It’s probably the Stilts themselves who just picked up their own instruments not too long ago.
What you’re left with is an album that isn’t very original, isn’t executed very well and is itself lacking inspiration. Once you can get over this, you’ll find that it’s quite enjoyable. You read that right: the moment I was able to put aside all of my endless references albums—and there are lots to choose from with Alight Of Night—was the moment that I began to appreciate it.
I’ve listened to it a lot and it fits nicely between the albums it apes. That in itself is a testament to Crystal Stilts goal of delivering a record so close to the band’s research material. And even if the band fades into obscurity after this, should they never be able to match this perfect level of inferiority again, I hope they’ll take comfort in knowing that they released one of the best counterfeit albums you’ll ever hear.
• Crystal Stilts – “Crystal Stilts”
4 thoughts on “Crystal Stilts – Alight Of Night”
I’m not sure I can embrace that many caveats in an effort to “enjoy” a “counterfeit album.” Todd, I don’t think these guys are gonna be calling you up to serve as publicist.
You think yourself to be too clever.
Your description sounds like they’d fit on the shelf between The Raveonettes and Interpol. Fine. I don’t consider myself a big fan of either, but I have every album from both, so I guess I should pick this up?
Ravonettes? Yes. Interpol. Too primitive. There’s an obvious Ian worship going on, but the sound quality would put it next to those low-fi live releases and the dirtier moments of Still. The most obvious comparison remains the Mary Chain. There’s no intention to be clever here, just a cautionary warning that you may already have this album, albeit in a different and admittedly better form.
I totally know about all the caveats. I struggled with them too, but after listening to this thing for the past three months, I finally gave in and find it very enjoyable. Not to the point where I can jump up and recommend it to everyone, because there will be some that find it so derivative that it takes away from their listening pleasure. They just do it so blatantly and so accurately that I finally gave in.
I first saw them live and enjoyed the echo laden performance. I found it hilarious that one moment they’re eating nachos and then the next they’re being all mopey. My wife thought that all the songs sounded the same, which is true but also one of the reasons why I liked them. They’ve got the craft down and it’s much better on record than live. Alight Of Night will stand up next to the albums it apes, but it certainly won’t replace them.
Gave it a whirl on iTunes. Pretty accurate review.
Bought one song- The Dazzled.