Close

Heart of Glass

The former Crystal Castles frontwoman proves she can definitely hold her own on her self-empowering debut EP

When she was still the singer of Canadian electro-punk duo Crystal Castles, Alice Glass seldom sang. Her vocals, distorted and manipulated, sometimes worked in tandem with the harsh, glitchy production of her bandmate Ethan Kath. Other times, they barely rose above it. Such sonic characteristics had provided the backbone for Crystal Castles' first three albums until Glass decided to leave the band in 2014 and made her foray into a solo career with one-off single Stillbirth. Kath, on the other hand, stuck with the project and went on to release a new Crystal Castles record by himself two years later.

Alice Glass / Alice Glass EP

Not to be one-upped, Glass returns with a self-titled solo debut EP. Co-produced by former HEALTH member Jupiter Keyes, it deals largely with an abusive relationship she'd experienced during her teenage years. Dubbed the “sister song to Stillbirth”, opener/lead cut Without Love finds her actually signing this time. “Am I worth it or am I worthless?/ And will I ever figure it out?” she coos over skittering synths. “Sold myself to him/ Be your own victim/ And with this bondage/ Tie myself down.” As the track gears towards the end, she seems to garner enough courage to break free: “I want to take a chance … I'm not just blood and tissue/ Tell me what to spit/ Don't tell me what to swallow.”

Forgiveness pulsates with danceable darkwave undercurrents in much the same way as Crystal Castles' first single Crimewave. Glass's voice, however, is untampered with. “I'm the same as you, I have nothing/ I am empty too in the right way,” she sings in a particularly bright tone. “We don't care that no one will miss us/ We don't need their blame or forgiveness.” This is perhaps the most pop-oriented offering we've heard from her to date.

Those hankering for the good old Crystal Castles action will be pleased by Natural Selection. Built around jarring, stop-and-start effects, it's as volatile as it is visceral. “Get out of me/ Get the f**k off!” Glass shouts in a series of raw outbursts. The thrashing of White Lies and Blood Oath recall some of the best tracks by American noise duo Sleigh Bells while closer The Altar is a sparse, hymn-like reflection on empathy (“Somewhere else, someone else feels worse/ Forget that the sun is in the universe … A life of compassion feels so rehearsed … All you regret cannot be reversed.”)

Despite its brief length -- just a little over 18 minutes to be precise -- the EP delivers plenty of sonic diversity that both old and new fans of Glass can equally appreciate.

Facing up to her past trauma, she has crafted an empowering solo debut that shows her in both vulnerable and aggressive lights. Like it or not, Alice Glass has officially arrived as a solo artist.


THE PLAYLIST

The Charapaabs / Elvis Young Yuu (Elvis Never Left the Building)

Our beloved novelty band The Charapaabs return with their fifth single, Elvis Young Yuu (Elvis Never Left the Building). Released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, the track features well-known Thai Elvis impersonator Suknirand “Elvis Joe” Sukluang on vocal duties. More than a tribute to the late King of Rock ‘n' Roll, it's also an inspiring paean to finding happiness through doing what you love.

Foo Fighters / The Sky Is A Neighborhood

If you were one of the lucky souls who got to hear this song played live at Foo Fighters Live In Bangkok last week, you'll know what Dave Grohl meant when he said that it's “the biggest thing sonically we've ever done”. Inspired by Neil DeGrasse Tyson's answer to the question “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the universe?”, The Sky Is A Neighborhood talks about how “life is a big bang now” and “mind is a battlefield”.

Shania Twain / Swingin' With My Eyes Closed

After announcing her long-awaited new album Now as well as sharing lead cuts Life's About To Get Good and Poor Me, the Canadian country-pop chanteuse now treats us to the third offering, Swingin' With My Eyes Closed. Here, the You're Still The One singer serves up a booming, reggae-lite affair, jubilantly singing “I'm swingin' with my eyes closed/ Got my hair down a wide open road/ I'm swingin' with my eyes closed / Only God knows how far it goes”. The record marks Twain's first new studio album in 15 years, following 2002's Up! and 2004's Greatest Hits.

LCD Soundsystem / Tonite

Tonite, the third single from LCD Soundsystem's just released comeback LP American Dream, has its eyes fixed firmly on the dance floor -- not unlike James Murphy's earlier releases. Underpinned by retro synths and grooving drum beats, the track sees Murphy in his perpetually jaded mood, talk-singing about existential anxieties that come with growing older: “And all the hits are saying the same thing/ There's only tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight, tonight/ And life is finite/ But shit, it feels like forever.” Then, in his typical self-aware mode, he concludes: “Oh I'm a reminder/ The hobbled veteran of the disk shop inquisition/ Set to parry the cocksure of men's sick filth/ With my own late era middle-aged ramblings.”

S. Carey / Brassy Sun

Sean Carey may be best known for his contribution to indie grandmaster Bon Iver, but he's more than proven his worth as a solo artist with two studio albums and two EPs. Carey's new single Brassy Sun, recorded as a soundtrack for the season two of Netflix series Flaked (starring Will Arnett), is a gorgeous piano ballad that oozes the sort of lump-in-your-throat nostalgia. “Where have I been?” he asks. “In a drug daze/ In that sun gaze/ In that glossy haze/ Do I know you/ Do I even know you?”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Back to top