Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crystal Stilts - Alight of the Night

The name Crystal Stilts sounds like one of those magical objects found only in European fairytales; like Baba Yaga's house that spins on chicken legs, the nettle shirts that Elisa must knit for her doomed brothers or the singing ringing tree that restores the morally bankrupt Princess to goodness.  Likewise the sounds constructed by the Stilts are somewhat vague and ethereal, with a tinge of the typical English weather.  If drizzle and mist could sing, rather than whisper with eerie precision in your ears, 'Alight of the night' might be the consequence.  Singer Brad sounds like he is enveloped in the stuff, his melancholic drawl subsumed beneath the weight of the ponderous production, recalling the wooziness of sinusitis, or that early sensation of numbness when operating on little sleep.  The world becomes cocoon-ed, perhaps a little indifferent, a little detached; its rather reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine and Shoegaze bands, but without the excruciating  ear-bleed.  Whatever - the results are beguiling, particularly songs 'The Dazzling' and 'Departure' which set a simple repetitive rift against bass-lines that chog along almost jovially alongside the mournful (and unfathomable) vocals, the slight melodies weaving in and out.  The power of the rhythms rise above the murk and prevent this album sinking into its own navel, creating an oddly uplifting experience.

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