Not many bands have ever seen a txalaparta, let alone used the Basque instrument on stage but that doesn’t stop the Crystal Fighters.
British meets Basque, electro welcomes folk and indie plays with dubstep; the danger is you listen to this fast-paced, alternative dance music and suddenly find everything else, well, boring.
The genuinely new sound experience is generated from synthesisers and an incredibly addictive raw energy. Electro pop holds hands with Basque instrumentation in a bizarrely brilliant combination that suggests undiagnosed ADHD or mild insanity. It probably won’t be a surprise to hear, then, that inspiration for debut album Star of Love came from an unfinished, nonsensical opera, written by the reclusive, somewhat loopy grandfather of a member of the band. These strange elements coming together shouldn’t work. But they do.
Supposedly the name of the group and the themes for their songs, which include the universe, coping with death and the conquest of love, were all born of singer Laure’s grandfather’s writings. Let’s hope further crazy work can be uncovered soon because Crystal Fighters have been turning heads, tapping feet and causing mayhem on dance floors since exploding on the club scene with the release of ‘Xtatic Truth’. The single will be familiar to followers of British TV series Skins and would probably still be exhilarating and frenetic to listen to, even if on repeat the entire night.
Where this English/Spanish alternative dance group differs from the rest, is in their ability to produce a genre-jumping sound. The constant fidgeting between dance, melodies and Spanish folk means you could find their album in any one of a number of sections at your local music shop. Crystal Fighters are never short of a curve ball or two; from the Basque guitar influences in ‘Plage’ to the heavy dubstep flair of ‘Swallow’, the result is a moreish sound of catchy unpredictability.
Needless to say, the force and electronic oomph of this high-energy group is best experienced live. Their ensemble of electronics, percussion and traditional Basque instrumentation is sure to throw up a delightfully messy treat for all Crystal Fighters’ fans. In what is arguably the most exciting electronic show around, a thrilling and euphoric atmosphere will have you breathing adrenaline before ‘I Love London’ induces a weekend dance coma. You have been warned.
April 7th, 2011. Sala KGB, 9pm. More info here