Album Review: Crystal Fighters – Star Of Love
Star Of Love
Crystal Fighters sounds like a terrible 80s cartoon about New-Age space pilots, Amethyst and Jasper, who battle evil galactic corporations using only the power of healing rose quartz and essential oils. They are actually three English boys and two Spanish girIs, who claim to draw heavily on Basque folk and percussion in making their pastichey electro-pop.
As ‘Swallow’ morphs from a panpiped ballad into a dubsteppy forest-rave and back again, it’s hard to imagine the live show not having its moments. (For a good ten seconds there, I was all FUCKYEAHBASQUERAVE.) They swing wildly from sugary calypso-chanson to icily milquetoast club bangers that Rihanna would summarily discard like yesterday’s nipple covers, and sometimes hint at a talent for shimmering Europop synthesis, but they’re trying much too hard to fit into every possible current genre. On ‘I Do This Everyday’ (sic – it’s two words unless it’s an adjective, people) and Web hit ‘I Love London’, they ape M.I.A.’s Shoreditch patois over four-to-the-floor beats that are oppressive in their attempts to be visceral, and a robot-fart bass synth that sounds like your speakers aren’t hooked up properly. There’s no room in the mix, no space between noises to thrash and dance – it’s going for catchy, edgy hard-dance, and it sounds like a Skitzmix.
If they’d approached this with a smidgen of Diplo’s fine-tuned genius for turning urban micro-genres into innovative, irresistible pop, or even just M.I.A.’s dictatorial bombast, it might have worked. Think of it as a musical Skip’s Scramble – more ingredients does not equal more deliciousness.
They could mean every word of this – or it could be a calculated pastiche of 2010’s noisy-edgy, 2009’s token-girl cutesy and 2011’s obscure-ethnic… Exhaustingly dull.