The news that those blood-letting hardcore experimentalists Crystal Castles were borrowing the voice of icon of romanticism Robert Smith brought mixed feelings. It’s an unlikely union, with Smith most famous for perfect pop hits such as ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, while Crystal Castles are most famous for assaulting eardrums and destroying stages.
But with a little help from The Cure frontman, Canada’s finest electro duo have updated their cover of Platinum Blonde’s ‘Not in Love’, replacing Alice Glass’s distorted vocals with the crystal clear yearning of Smith. And it works. Beautifully.
Whereas the asphyxiating, claustrophobic brutality of Ethan Khan’s usual style is probably the definition of ‘niche’, there’s (ironically) something in this that anyone can love. Through the verses, Khan holds back, providing an intensely atmospheric skeletal framework for the vocals to fill. Robert Smith is as usual on top, youthful, shiver-inducing form and with THOSE AMAZING SYNTHS and floor-shaking beats beneath them, the chorus is pure unrefined quality.
Fuck ‘Ebony and Ivory.’ This is how collaborations are meant to be done.