Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Atari Teenage Riot
I'm regressing back to the summer playschemes from my primary school summer holidays. I must've been 9 or 10, something like that. Along with my brother, I was carted off to the local Youth and Community Centre by my Mum, so she could go to work during the day. On the hot days, we'd either be left to our devices, which was great, or more likely we'd be forced to play organised games, which I always hated. Organised fun. Woo.
But oddly, what I really loved were the rainy days, where we'd have to stay indoors, and I could waste my hard earned pocket money. Buying penny sweets from the tuck shop, putting 'Buffalo Stance' on the jukebox, or playing on the arcades. One of my favourite games was called Crystal Castles. Like a 3D Pacman, you controlled a bear who had to collect gems. You controlled it with a trackball rather than a joystick. It was unspeakably ace.
Now, there's this electropunkwhatever band called Crystal Castles. Except they got their name from She-Ra's crystal castle. But nuts to that: what they actually sound like is precisely the noise in that dark room full of the flashing lights of primitive coin-op arcade machines. It's a gorgeous, dark, twisted, 8 bit lo-fi noise with twisted, fractured female vocals over the top. They sound like almost nothing else out there, the closest sounds being the darker tail end of electroclash (whatever that was) and the more experimental hiphoprnb producers. But whereas so much of that is thoroughly yawnsome, this sounds adrenaline pumpingly fantastic.
The annoying thing is everything that isn't the music. For starters, they look so bloody clichéd. Check them on the cover of this week's NME or any of their press shots. A boy and a girl. Him, dark brooding, unshaven, hiding behind a fringe, all self conciously serious. Her, 10 years his junior, aggressively good looking, DIY hairdo, skinny hipster jeans, converse, smoking a faaaag. They don't like doing interviews. And the few words they do speak are about how individual and different they are to all the other bands, and how they don't care about success and blah blah BLAH. HNNNGGGG.
If I'm honest, I saw their photo before I heard their music. And I wasn't optimistic. I didn't want to like them. But I do. Because the singles 'Airwar' and 'Courtship Dating' are amazing, and the eponymous album, whilst not perfect, is really quite special.
And i so obviously fancy the girl.
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