The Crystal Method The Crystal Method
If there’s a segment of pop-influenced electronic music that might reliably swerve around the overused templates of the EDM movement, it’s the class of 1997. That first wave of mainstream breakthroughs included Europeans like The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Underworld, and a Vegas-to-LA duo called The Crystal Method, all evolving by avoiding the usual subgenre trappings.
The Crystal Method, in particular, maintained its own Venn diagram bubble by often painting its breakbeat rhythms and melodic acid lines with rock and hip-hop brushstrokes. All of that can be heard on Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland’s new self-titled album, their fifth in 20 years. And there’s no loss of enthusiasm two decades in, evidenced by charging stompers “Emulator” and “Storm the Castle” (with Le Castle Vania) and the adventurous, tempo-shifting “Dosimeter,” featuring Nick Thayer, a signee of Skrillex’s OWSLA imprint. Speaking of the American dubstep pioneer, his influence can be felt on “Sling the Decks” and “Over It” (sung by former Las Vegan Dia Frampton), though TCM’s drops and rumbles, while a little cliche for 2014, are less reaction-baiting and more complementary to the songs’ narratives.
Mediocre collabs with LeAnn Rimes and local Franky Perez create drag towards the end, but The Crystal Method otherwise roars with a familiar vigor and distinction.