‘Baptism’ by Crystal Castles
From the album (II) (2010)
As you, dear reader, will have probably gathered by now, I go through obsessive phases of listening to bands and songs by bands that have a strong connection to my past. I find that this process is aided whenever I go home to visit my family, as I have done this past weekend.
Crystal Castles’ (II) and Sleigh Bells’ Treats soundtracked the last full summer that I lived at home and my memories of screaming through the hills of Derbyshire, hungover, in my crappy old Renault Clio, with the above albums on rotation on the CD player make me both smile and grimace in equal measures. ‘Baptism’s pulsing synths (both the lead lines and the bass) remind instantly of old-school trance tracks without the feeling over over-clichéd throwbacking. Running up into the chorus, in which Alice Glass preaches to the listener, ‘THIS IS YOUR BAPTISM. AND YOU CAN’T FORGIVE ‘EM’, her voice is immediately more clear than it is on most of the band’s other songs – an epiphany of some kind, in keeping with the spiritual theme of the song.
After the second chorus, the song drops into a sort-of middle-eight with a build up back into a final chorus which, instead of dropping down at the end, carries on with a triumphant segue into the main synth line before fading out into a soak of decay. Every time I hear it, it sends shivers down my spine and, depending on my mood, I either see a sunrise piercing through a line of trees or a room of sweat-soaked and chemically-altered teenagers and twentysomethings moving in time to this very song, snapshotted in strobe lighting.
Sadly Crystal Castles split in October of last year, but at least I (and many others) still have these memories, no matter how blurred around the edges they may be.