Crystal Fighters - Cave Rave

Crystal Fighters - Cave Rave

Experimentation is a field best left for Animal Collective. Whilst the latest release form British synthpop/folktronica outfit Crystal Fighters is ambitious and promising, Cave Rave tries to be so many things that it should never ever be. Think a bizarre coagulation of folk, dance, rock, pop and indie-pop, add out of tune vocals, thrown in a ukulele and a 90s disco beat and you have Cave Rave.

Despite this, the opening two tracks, most likely the eventual singles, do show promise on an otherwise disillusioning album. ‘Wave’ is the first track, and is probably the best track on the album. An undeniably catchy chorus is the centrepiece of the track, and the general vibe is a new wave pseudo-hippy feel. The choral aspect that comes in at the end is bizarre and probably unnecessary though. Many times during the album I really felt that the band added in quite a bit that didn’t need to be there.

‘Separator’ is a perfect example of this. Opening with a house inspired drumbeat that progresses into a classic rock track, I definitely felt like I had been thrown back into the era of terrible raves and narcotics. The track digresses even more as the listener is pulled into a chorus filled with jungle drums and airy vocals. Not to mention the brief stint in 70s hair rock on the bridge – but don’t worry that ends when the disco beats return. It’s as if Crystal Fighters are trying to shove 10 genres into the one track and pass it off as a fun indie dance tune.

‘Bridge Of Bones’, the 5-minute cornerstone of the album, similarly attempts too much in one burst. Think ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ times 10. It opens promisingly with a piano riff, but gradually deteriorates into an incredibly predictable and boring hippy anthem. “Show me a way to forever” is the big proclamation repeated over and over in this track - a mantra that makes very little sense.

The lyrical content definitely deserves a comment. Every song concerns itself with a journey through love and being connected to space and nature. You can’t help but question how many drugs the lyricist was on when you hear the lyric “In the galaxy of truth, your stars are ours / Your heart is a sun in the depths of a month / The space is on …, there’s gravity inside / We’re in the universe, I’ll find my way”… The overly happy, euphoric, drug induced lyrics become grating and cringe worthy. So much so that you can’t help but feel angry every time a proclamation of love is screamed or the words “universe” and “heart” are uttered in the same breath.

With this said, it’s not all bad. There are a few moments on the album where Crystal Fighters really do show that they can produce good indie-pop. ‘LA Calling’ is, for the most part, a good song. It is a simple track, with a sing-a-long chorus and poppy guitar riffs. That is until the bridge that rapidly transforms into rapping over synth presets stolen directly from 2005. Similarly the closer ‘Everywhere’ is another nice moment on Cave Rave. It is simple and modern, and is a good change from the bizarre genre shifting seen throughout the rest of the album.

I’m sure Crystal Fighters had good intentions when they created Cave Rave, but the delivery of this new sub-genre called Folktronica is poorly executed. An overuse of instruments, confusing mixture of genres, and generally poor song writing has let the band down on this release.

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