Two Way Mirror reflects a stale sound
Two-Way Mirror, Recreation Ltd.
Released July 19, 2011
Crystal Antlers want to remind you that ’60’s psychedelia doesn’t live in the past. Blasting a fragile yet explosive sound, the five piece from Long Beach, CA experiments with organ-heavy, Doors-like melodies played with the speed and intensity of garage rock. Not to be confused with other noise-pop groups with the increasingly popular “Crystal-Something” moniker, this band is an interesting blend of psych-rock and punk. This mix contributes to their broad appeal across a range of rock fans, but also contributes to their overall lack of distinctiveness.
Crystal Antlers’ second full-length album, Two-Way Mirror, presents their most melodic material to date, providing a bit of maturity to their experimental sound. This is, in part, due to singer Joey Bell’s new found register. Bell’s voice has evolved, laying down a more mellow, airy groundwork for the band’s sound, only breaking into screams for a few of the album’s edgier tracks.
“Jules’ Story” and “Séance” set up the album for a Japandroids-meets-Male Bonding rollercoaster of lo-fi punk with plenty of reverb echo, before the latter half of the album is mellowed out with the instrumental interlude “Way Out” and dreamy sounds of “Fortune Telling”. Crystal Antlers really hits its stride with the more rhythmic “Summer Solstice”, but the remainder of Two-Way Mirror falls a little flat with short, mid-tempo songs that seem to breeze by aimlessly. The band’s eccentricity isn’t enough to keep the album afloat – this mirror unfortunately starts to feel like one we’ve already looked into.
The album is inconsistent, but there is definitely evidence of a band still trying to find their ground and define their sound. Fans of Crystal Antler’s 2009 debut, Tentacles, won’t be disappointed with the band’s progression, but Two-Way Mirror won’t likely be the album to convert new listeners.
-Vinciane de Pape