After temporarily settling down in the small Mexican farming town of La Punta Banda, Long Beach natives Crystal Antlers have spawned the follow up to their 2010 debut with their impressive new album Two-Way Mirror. Fusing different styles and genres on their already eclectic palette, the Crystal Antlers have added new elements of avant-garde pop, surf rock, 1970’s folk with their sophomore effort. This is also the band’s first full-length with their newest addition and budding influence, organist Cora Foxx. Everything always sounds better with an organ!
Two-Way Mirror starts off with a haunting intro right off the bat on “Jules’ Story.” Marching drums coupled with sharp vocals brings a strong sense of urgency to the listener’s ear. This song is full of anger and yearning behind those shouted vocals and the bittersweet wailing guitar builds up into a fast and furious ending. This song is sure to leave any listener behind in a pool of sweat and limbs turned to Jello.
The upbeat pace doesn’t let up and the quick snare taps and circus keys of “Séance” keeps the ball rolling so fast that you may find yourself dizzy by the end of this track. Lead singer Jonny Bell’s raspy vocals ring out in short bursts, dragging you in-and-out of a musical funhouse.
A nice contrast of sweet and distorted, between the keys and the guitar, play off each other throughout “Summer Solstice.” This summer jam keeps your feet tapping steadily while your head drifts off to other places. You just might “fade away” with this one but as soon as you can say, “Well I’ll be a fucking monkey’s uncle,” a straight up attack of drums and guitar from “By the Sawkill” will quickly destroy and demolish all the senses you may have just had a second ago. This song is a feedback heavy, ghost guitar, chiming-keys-ridden-hipster-mosh-riot-inciter — sure to make it onto some 2011 Halloween playlists.
The title-track of this sophomore effort, “Two-Way Mirror,” is where the album starts to lose a little steam. The beat is still fast but seems more redundant and doesn’t standout as much as I expected from a title-track. A cool guitar riff and hand claps grace the middle of the song briefly, giving the rest of the track a run for its money. Heavy trolling bass and creepy lo-fi keys of musical interlude “Way Out” provides a much needed break from the urgent vocals. The album continues with a couple songs that drag on and feel like space filler to me. However, the LP ends with a turnaround in “Dog Days.” Less cracked vocals, clean guitar riffs and solos with a wicked driving beat surprised me with a smooth ending to a raucous album.
Album Review by Emily Saex
FREE mp3 Download:
“Summer Solstice” – Click here to download