6 February, 2014@8:39 pm
Things have come full circle for The Crystal Method, who helped birth the 90′s “electronica” music scene, putting their hometown of Vegas on the map with their 1997 debut album named after the city. The club scene was still a new animal, in a pre-bottle service era built by venues like Club Utopia and The Drink, in a time when nightclubs were stand-alone venues that weren’t connected to casinos.
In that era, the pioneering duo of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland grew much bigger than their local scene, releasing new albums every few years, despite waning popularity and a rapidly changing electronic music sound. With today’s “EDM” popularity in full swing, especially in their hometown, now would be as good of time as ever for them to return, with a new album simply titled The Crystal Method.
For a group that helped laid the foundations for both the music and nightlife scenes of this generation, their newest album finds them more back-peddling than blazing new trails. Which is ironic, as the opening track, “Emulator”, seems to take aim at the redundancy of today’s younger generation, blasting “You ain’t fooling no..” over bouncy, brooding basslines and chopped samples. This comes just before the album’s lead single, a dubstep driven collab with Dia Frampton, “Over It”, which works, but seems ill placed on a Crystal Method LP. Later on “Dosimeter”, we get bits of Deadmau5 and Skrillex sounding synths, which again works, but seems to contradict “Emulator’s” argument.
More respectable to their catalog are tracks like “Storm The Castle” and the unapologetically 80′s “Difference”, both of which are paired with rock vocals, giving a much more fully realized, finished sound. Other times, the largely instrumental record seems to be the result of random experimentation. Thankfully, they aren’t recycling the “epic build up” + “sick drop” formula over and over again.
In an era where artists like Daft Punk and Avicii are trying their hardest to avoid making a categorically classified “EDM” album, The Crystal Method seem to be trying to conform to doing exactly that. While there definitely are some strong moments on the group’s timely return, their best years may be behind them.
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