Album Review: Crystal Stilts – In Love With Oblivion




Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts have taken nearly three years to release a full-length follow-up to 2008’s Alight of Night. However, In Love With Oblivion has been worth the wait. The release was expected to introduce listeners to a much more expansive sound for the band, and it does. Utilizing lead singer Brad Hargett’s signature warbling vocals and jangly instrumentals, the album will please previous fans and entice new ones.

This is simple rock and roll, but Hargett’s vocals are a distinct feature for the band, distinguishing them from similar noise pop outfits. Compared to their 2008 debut, Crystal Stilts have a much better grasp on what works for them, and because of this, In Love With Oblivion signals a rather blatant sign of growth.

On the whole, the record works, but a few tracks certainly stand out. “Sycamore Tree” kick-starts the record with Johnny Cash-like jangly rock mixed with Hargett’s muddled vocals. It’s a solid, fast-paced opener to welcome listeners. “Half a Moon” is a stark contrast in sound from their previous work; it’s an upbeat, tambourine-filled single that listeners will find easy to bop along with. “Shake the Shackles” is a standout track on the album with a touch of peppiness to go along with swirling keyboards and heavy reverb. Fans of Alight of Night will love “Alien Rivers”, a dark seven-minute track. It’s the slowest of the bunch, combining the aforementioned reverb with brooding, droning vocals. Somewhere in there they even fit the sounds of crickets chirping. It’s unlike anything else on In Love With Oblivion.

As promised, Crystal Stilts’ sophomore release brings a more expansive sound to its listeners. Though the band is often compared to The Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain, this release doesn’t sound like a stripped away imitation. Instead, In Love With Oblivion stands as a solid second attempt for a group with a promising future.