The Crystal Stilts’ sophomore album, In Love with Oblivion, saw its release this past spring, but the Brooklyn-based band is not closing up shop for the year just yet. Call them garage rock, jangle pop, or shoegaze, but whatever it is, there’s no mistaking Brad Hargett’s Ian Curtis-like, reverberating vocals laid over an organ and some tambourine, which lets them showcase a sunnier side. It all remains well within the realm of their sonic space that recalls bands like The Velvet Underground without imitating. Radiant Door should further entice listeners in need of noise pop that sticks.
Their previous full-length included “Half a Moon”, which hinted at the Stilts’ head-bopping capabilities, and here, the title track expands that into an even peppier feeling. A bright guitar riff is fit for a warm afternoon, while Hargett’s deeply pitched vocals keep it after-hours appropriate. In keeping their influences consistent, “Still as the Night” includes a ‘60s-tinged, Johnny Cash-like melody that dials into the darker side of pop music. Like a lonesome cowboy with his hat tilted low, Hargett mournfully intones, “Still as the night, cold as the wind. A fool in love can never win.” The organ takes center stage on the melancholic end of the night anthem “Frost Inside the Asylum” and the band patiently rides it out, with the rhythm of the tom-tom drums pushing them all the way there.
While the Crystal Stilts have clearly studied the likes of The Velvet Underground and Joy Division, they’re able to craft the sounds into something new. Just as In Love With Oblivion helped them gain a better perspective on what their strengths are, the Radiant Door EP is a fitting in-between to hold listeners over until they reveal what’s in store for album three.
Essential Tracks: “Radiant Door”, “Still as the Night”, “Frost Inside the Asylum”