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back in 2008, a lot of heads turned to clock crystal stilts' 'alight of night', the brooklyn-based band's first album after a string of here-today-gone-tomorrow singles and eps. it wasn't exactly a surprise - crystal stilts felt like part of a new age dawning; part of underground collectives and random, crazy groups who'd rediscovered the joys of noise-pop and set about creating their own creations - but there was something unique about crystal stilts, something hermetic yet gorgeous about the world they created. with their new album, 'in love with oblivion', they stretch things further still, honing their songcraft and indulging their more strung-out sides, full of elliptical verses and perfectly chiming guitars, cranky pop organs and the punkest of rhythms. it's a perfect blend of pop smarts and beguiling experiment. and as with all good pop bands, crystal stilts not only look cool and sound great: they also listen hard. but if crystal stilts are scholarly about pop, they don't wear their knowledge heavily. the best songs on 'in love with oblivion' are effortless, rapturous - 'through the floor' burns on fevered energy; 'silver sun' kisses the air with a beautiful stream of jangle guitar; 'alien rivers' is a spooked, psychedelic requiem, roughly opal's 'happy nightmare baby' plus 14 iced bears' 'mother sleep' multiplied by victor dimisich band. 'precarious stair' is the best girl-pop-song-not-actually-fronted-by-a-girl since 'just like honey.' with 'in love with oblivion', crystal stilts take all one's expectations and quietly, unassumingly but determinedly turn them upside down, making one listen with a fresh ear to the glorious haze of pop they pour out of their bloodied veins. a buzzing organ, some slack-strung guitars, a clutch of moe tucker drums and some black tambourines never sounded this alive.
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