III (Crystal Castles album)

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III
Crystal Castles - III album cover.png
Studio album by Crystal Castles
Released November 7, 2012 (2012-11-07)
Recorded
Genre
Length 39:33
Label
Producer
Crystal Castles chronology
Crystal Castles II
(2010)
III
(2012)
Amnesty (I)
(2016)
Singles from III
  1. "Plague"
    Released: July 25, 2012
  2. "Wrath of God"
    Released: September 26, 2012
  3. "Affection"
    Released: October 31, 2012

III (stylized as (III)) is the third studio album by Canadian electronic music duo Crystal Castles, released on November 7, 2012 by Fiction Records and Polydor Records. Production was handled by Ethan Kath, with additional production by Jacknife Lee.

Background and recording[edit]

Produced entirely by Ethan Kath,[4] III was recorded in Berlin and Warsaw, and mixed in London.[5][6] The album addresses the theme of oppression, with the musicians using different pedals and keyboards to create a diverse "palette of sound".[6][7] "A lot of bad things have happened to people close to me since II and it's profoundly influenced my writing as I've realized there will never be justice for them. I didn't think I could lose faith in humanity any more than I already had, but after witnessing some things, it feels like the world is a dystopia where victims don't get justice and corruption prevails", Alice Glass explained in a statement.[7] On October 9, 2012, the track listing for the album was revealed via the duo's official Facebook page.[8]

Artwork[edit]

The album cover features an award winning photograph by Samuel Aranda. It shows a mother, Fatima al-Qaws embracining her son Zayed who is suffering from the effects of tear gas after taking part in a street demonstration against the then ruling President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a, Yemen in 2011.[9] The photo was awarded the World Press Photo of the Year 2011 in February, 2012.[10]

Release and promotion[edit]

III was initially planned to be released on November 5, 2012, before being delayed to November 12.[4][11] The album cover features a picture by Spanish-born Catalan photojournalist and photographer Samuel Aranda. The image depicts a woman named Fatima al-Qaws holding her son, Zayed, who was exposed to tear gas during a street demonstration in Sana'a, Yemen, on October 15, 2011.[7][12]

The album's first two singles, "Plague" and "Wrath of God", were made available for free download on the duo's SoundCloud page on July 25 and September 26, 2012, respectively.[7][12][13][14][15] The accompanying music video for "Plague" debuted on September 24, 2012 and uses footage from Andrzej Żuławski's 1981 film Possession.[16] "Affection" was released as the album's third single on October 31, 2012.[17] The music video for "Affection" premiered on April 26, 2013 and was filmed on the duo's South American tour.[18] "Violent Youth" premiered on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show on November 1, 2012.[19] A music video for "Sad Eyes", shot in Berlin and Toronto, was released on January 20, 2013.[20]

On July 26, 2012, Crystal Castles announced a North American tour with Health and Kontravoid in support of the album, as well as festivals appearances in Europe and Australia, starting on August 9, 2012 and ending on January 28, 2013.[21] In November 2012, the band performed six dates in the United Kingdom.[22] Additional dates across Europe, Oceania, North America, and South America were announced on October 17, 2012 and January 9, 2013.[23][24]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 76/100[25]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[26]
The A.V. Club C[27]
Consequence of Sound 4/5 stars[28]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[29]
The Independent 4/5 stars[30]
NME 9/10[31]
The Observer 2/5 stars[32]
Pitchfork Media 8.0/10[33]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[34]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[1]

III received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, based on 33 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[25] Louis Pattison of the NME commented that, "in toning down the shock and awe, [Crystal Castles have] revealed the beating heart at the centre of their work. The message, still, is that the world is a cruel and fucked-up place. But being doomed seldom sounded so beautiful."[31] AllMusic's Heather Phares viewed III as the duo's "most serious set of songs yet" and stated, "Artistic progress is as much about subtraction as it is about addition, and on III, Crystal Castles have made room to be sad, angry, pretty, and danceable at the same time."[26] Pitchfork Media's Ian Cohen dubbed III "the duo's most focused record", adding, "While not as immediately striking as either Crystal Castles (I or II), the streamlined sound allows more maneuverability and subtle variety in the actual songwriting."[33] Matt James of PopMatters wrote, "Perennial outsiders to the death, Crystal Castles' third act is inspiring, warped, feverishly uncomfortable, bold, bloody and brilliant."[34]

Dan Pfleegor of Consequence of Sound opined that "III is less playful than the duo's previous couple of offerings, but its thematic mood is much tighter and more fully realized."[28] The Guardian's Tim Jonze noted that "Witch House is an obvious influence [on the album], and you could question whether the former chip-tune terrorists are still as ahead of the curve as they once were. It hardly matters when they can come up with stuff like 'Child I Will Hurt You', a dream-state lullaby that is both beautiful and unbearably sorrowful."[29] Simon Price of The Independent stated that the album "shudders and shimmers like some massive, monstrous machine. But, when heard loud, the more accurate metaphors come from nature: flashes of lightning at the top end, earthquakes and landslides at the bottom."[30] In a mixed review, Jesse Cataldo of Slant Magazine described III as "earnest, expansive electronica from a duo few are expecting such sincerity from, and it edges them directly into the middle of the road", concluding, "In striving for something new, the duo has only found a more recognizable sort of tedium."[1] Annie Zaleski of The A.V. Club expressed that, "instead of anarchist dance jams full of crunchy 8-bit noise, (III) is more like a static-filled radio station fading in and out of range." Zaleski continued, "While (III) can use this disorientation effectively [...] too often the music is irritating, not disruptive."[27] Hermione Hoby of The Observer felt that "there's very little on this third LP that could qualify as 'experimental'. Track after track leans heavily on the relentless four-to-the-floor of trance, with Alice Glass's yelped vocals muffled under a weight of sound that's simultaneously boring and abrasive."[32]

Accolades[edit]

Publication List Rank
Complex The 50 Best Albums of 2012[35] 19
Consequence of Sound Top 50 Albums of 2012[36] 39
Hype Machine, TheThe Hype Machine Top Ten Albums of 2012[37] 1
NME 50 Best Albums of 2012 list[38] 4
Pitchfork Media Top 50 Albums of 2012[39] 49
Spinner The 50 Best Albums of 2012[40] 34

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ethan Kath and Alice Glass

No. Title Length
1. "Plague"   4:56
2. "Kerosene"   3:12
3. "Wrath of God"   3:07
4. "Affection"   2:37
5. "Pale Flesh"   3:00
6. "Sad Eyes"   3:27
7. "Insulin"   1:47
8. "Transgender"   3:05
9. "Violent Youth"   4:22
10. "Telepath"   3:54
11. "Mercenary"   2:39
12. "Child I Will Hurt You"   3:33

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of III.[41]

Crystal Castles
Additional personnel

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Germany November 7, 2012 Digital download Polydor [52]
Ireland [53]
United Kingdom [54]
United States Casablanca [55]
Australia November 8, 2012 Shock [56]
Canada
  • CD
  • digital download
Last Gang [57][58]
United States CD
[59]
Germany November 9, 2012 Universal [60]
Ireland
[61]
United Kingdom November 12, 2012
[62][63]
Australia November 16, 2012 CD Shock [64]
Japan December 5, 2012 Universal [65]
United States January 8, 2013 LP
  • Casablanca
  • Universal Republic
[66]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Cataldo, Jesse (November 10, 2012). "Crystal Castles: III". Slant Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  2. ^ Gieben, Bram E. (November 5, 2012). "Crystal Castles – (III)". The Skinny. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Zoe (November 29, 2012). "Album Review: Crystal Castles – III". Rip It Up. Retrieved January 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Crystal Castles delay release of new album 'III' to November 12". NME. Time Inc. UK. October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Crystal Castles push new album release to November". NME. Time Inc. UK. September 19, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Louche, Liz (September 27, 2012). "Crystal Castles announce new album, tourdates, ongoing depression". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Minsker, Evan; Pelly, Jenn (September 26, 2012). "Crystal Castles Announce New Album, (III)". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ Minsker, Evan (October 9, 2012). "Crystal Castles Reveal Album Tracklist". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ "La pietà araba – World Press Photo Award". DubaiBlog. 2012-02-24. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Samuel Aranda wins the World Press Photo of the Year 2011". World Press Photo. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (October 18, 2012). "Crystal Castles Push Back Album Release Date". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Crystal Castles unveil new single 'Wrath Of God' and album details – listen". NME. Time Inc. UK. September 26, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  13. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (September 26, 2012). "Crystal Castles Announce New Album, Share 'Wrath of God' Track". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Crystal Castles – Plague". SoundCloud. July 25, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Crystal Castles – Wrath Of God". SoundCloud. September 26, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2012. 
  16. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (September 24, 2012). "Video: Crystal Castles: "Plague"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  17. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (October 31, 2012). "New Crystal Castles: "Affection"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  18. ^ Pelly, Jenn (April 26, 2013). "Watch: Crystal Castles Share "Affection" Video, Extend Tour With Depeche Mode". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Huw Stephens sits in". BBC Radio 1. November 1, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  20. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (January 20, 2013). "Watch Crystal Castles' "Sad Eyes" Video". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Crystal Castles to tour North America with HEALTH". Fact. The Vinyl Factory. July 26, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
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  23. ^ "Crystal Castles announce European tour dates". Fact. The Vinyl Factory. October 17, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  24. ^ Battan, Carrie (January 9, 2013). "Crystal Castles Announce Tour". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "Reviews for (III) by Crystal Castles". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "(III) – Crystal Castles". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  27. ^ a b Zaleski, Annie (November 6, 2012). "Crystal Castles: (III)". The A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  28. ^ a b Pfleegor, Dan (November 15, 2012). "Album Review: Crystal Castles – (III)". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Jonze, Tim (November 8, 2012). "Crystal Castles: III – review". The Guardian. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  30. ^ a b Price, Simon (November 8, 2012). "Album: Crystal Castles, III (Fiction)". The Independent. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  31. ^ a b Pattison, Louis (November 9, 2012). "Crystal Castles – '(III)'". NME. Time Inc. UK. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  32. ^ a b Hoby, Hermione (November 11, 2012). "Crystal Castles: (III) – review". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b Cohen, Ian (November 12, 2012). "Crystal Castles: (III)". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 12, 2012. 
  34. ^ a b James, Matt (November 26, 2012). "Crystal Castles: (III)". PopMatters. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  35. ^ Baker, Ernest (December 18, 2012). "The 50 Best Albums of 2012". Complex. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Top 50 Albums of 2012". Consequence of Sound. December 14, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  37. ^ The Hype Machine (December 21, 2012). "Hype Machine + Tumblr Music Blog Zeitgeist: Top Ten Albums of 2012". Tumblr. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
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  40. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2012". Spinner. AOL. December 7, 2012. Archived from the original on February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  41. ^ ‹See Tfm›III (CD liner notes). Crystal Castles. Fiction Records. 2012. 3720275. 
  42. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Albums – Week Commencing 26th November 2012" (PDF). ARIA Charts. Pandora Archive. p. 6. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  43. ^ "ARIA Dance – Week Commencing 26th November 2012" (PDF). ARIA Charts. Pandora Archive. p. 16. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
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  50. ^ "Crystal Castles – Chart history: Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  51. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Dance Albums 2012". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
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  55. ^ "(III): Crystal Castles: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
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  57. ^ "III by Crystal Castles". HMV Canada. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
  58. ^ "Crystal Castles (III) by Crystal Castles". iTunes Store (CA). Apple. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
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  60. ^ "Crystal Castles | (III)" (in German). Universal Music Germany. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  61. ^ "Crystal Castles – [Iii]". Tower Records Ireland. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  62. ^ "Crystal Castles (III) CD Album". Universal Music UK. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  63. ^ "Crystal Castles (III) Vinyl". Universal Music UK. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  64. ^ "Crystal Castles Lll – Crystal Castles". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved February 14, 2016. 
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External links[edit]