Crystal Stilts – Radiant Door EP

CS cover

The recycling of past musical ideas can be a difficult and a brave enterprise. Of course it’s entirely possible to use artefacts and devices from a bygone age and still to make the ensuing product entirely your own. For a fabulous example of this, do yourself a favour and listen to Anna Calvi and all that sixties-dust torn-speaker reverb. It’s still gloriously Anna in all her lipstick-red silk-shirted glory. Or if you need further proof, try instead the latest slice of magnificence from the Dum Dum Girls, firmly jacketed in a West Coast harmony surf discipline, but at the same time entirely ensconced in its own skin, and very definitely born in no other possible year than 2011.

I also accept that it is also feasible to try honestly, and to fall short, some sort of honourable failure. I sincerely hope that is what is going on here. Crystal Stilts‘ ‘Radiant Door’ EP has moments of pleasant jangle but, as a piece, it sounds simply far too much like bare-footed pretend-hippies banging on a bodrhan and channelling The Doors. The indistinct voices muffled in the mix were charming when Michael Stipe was a shy boy, but here they sound far too much like a parody, a deliberate grasping for lo-fi sound without the benefit of having been actually recorded in a garage. Or maybe it was, I don’t really care if truth be told, I’m determined to simply and honestly tell you what it’s been like to listen to this a few times, in the car, on the headphones, wherever. You can’t say I haven’t given it a chance, but it annoys me beyond belief.

It’s a real and huge pity; I was hoping for to like this, I’ve been watching the Stilts from afar for a little while. If you’re bright eyed, bushy tailed and think all this faux retro fad is all too wonderful this might be for you…..

….Oh dear lord, the title track just came round again, excuse me while I go and put something else on the stereo. If there is a saving grace, it’s that I would much rather love or hate something than tread the middle ground of ‘couldn’t care less’.

[Rating: 2]

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