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.