Bad blood brews between former Crystal Castles members

Crystal Castles, which you’ll probably recognise as the goth synthpunk unison of singer Alice Glass (a vision of smeared lipstick and eye-engulfing black eyeliner) and songwriter/producer Ethan Kath, has been quiet since their 2012 release III. Famous for their ethereal, haphazardly lo-fi electronica and haunting, immersive stage shows (not to mention infamous for their overtly misanthropic lyrics and enigmatic media personalities,) Crystal Castles were endlessly intriguing when they hit the scene.

In late 2014, fans were gutted to hear Alice Glass’ unexpected announcement that she would be leaving the band and launching a solo career. The cryptic message accompanying the announcement, which cited Glass’ inability to fully realise her self-expression as part of the band, signaled some unrest between the former bandmates and paved the way for what has been a very strange set of exchanges between Kath and Glass, played out on social media over the past few weeks.

On April 17, Kath released a new song, Frail, on SoundCloud accompanied by a not-too subtle jab at his former bandmate: “I wish my former vocalist the best of luck in her future endeavours… It should be rewarding for her considering she didn’t appear on Crystal Castles’ best known songs.” Ouch. The message was since deleted, but not before Glass retorted with a retaliation of her own: “For the record, I wrote almost all of the lyrics in my former band and the vast majority of the vocal melodies… manipulative statements about my contributions to the band only reinforce the decision I made to move on to other things.” Part of the mystery of what-the-fuck-happened-there was solved with Kath’s response to a Pitchfork interview, where he (somewhat) backtracked on the snarky comments and added new comments about Glass’ departure. Kath relayed Glass’ reasoning for leaving CC because, “she was ready to ‘own her own darkness’” (an answer so perfectly representative of Glass that it makes my stomach hurt) and described how she broke things off: “After her year off, she tweeted that she was leaving. There was no discussion about it.” You have to feel a little bad for Kath if that’s really how it went down.

Cryptic code words and embedded hidden meanings aside, (which let’s face it, kind of add to the whole mystique that CC always embodied) three things are for sure:

  1. There’s more Crystal Castles on the way: Fuck. Yes. In the Pitchfork interview Kath acknowledged that he was making new material: “Frail was recorded recently and released as a message that we are in studio writing and recording a new album.” Kath also confirmed the mystery female vocalist: “A girl named Edith.” (Yep, Edith No-Name – we don’t know more than that.)
  2. If the new album as good as this teaser tune, it’ll be freaking awesome. Frail (listen on SoundCloud) will give you a vein-ripping shot of classic Crystal Castles, with thrashing, headache-inducing synth and chaotic pitched vocals that – yes – sound eerily like Glass.
  3. Glass will also release new material soon, evidently embracing the aforementioned “darkness” as part of her own solo act. Though there’s no word as to when exactly it’s coming out, unsurprisingly, it’s going to be impossibly dark, with Glass describing it as being “Like a kitten eating their hoarding owners after they die.” Lovely.

Die-hard Crystal Castles fans the world over will be waiting with bated-breath to see what darkness is unleashed from the ruins of the former Crystal Castles pair.

Listen to Frail below: