Official Release: 08.05.2016
Crystal Shipsss have released a new album – not that the average person would know – but that’s our job. Here’s why you should care, though: it’s really good.
Jacob Faurholt has been releasing music under his own name and Crystal Shipsss for a few years now – in fact, this is the 5th full-length album under Crystal Shipsss – and his second record in the space of a few months, if you count January’s fantastic solo album Superglue, which we gave a very positive nod to earlier in the year.
If you’ve been following the Crystal Shipsss catalogue the first thing you’ll notice is that Holly’s sound differs drastically from 2015’s I Will See No Moon No Sky, which mixed indie and “Doom-Core” of all things with great success. Faurholt’s now trademark falsetto vocals are at the center of all his Crystal Shipsss output – and sat unexpectedly nice in between the droning guitars and synths of …No Moon… On this effort, a more “lo-fi” take on indie songwriter pop, they soar and flutter – like an injured sea bird mired in oil.
Holly tells a story. It might be a concept album; it might be a narrative tale of love lost. Title track, “Holly” opens the record – repeating the line “Love is coming down, Love is coming down, Holly you make the same mistakes” and moves on to; “…you lost your baby and now you have to grieve”. Set among the pre-programmed cheap synths and boxed drum tracks – the album begins to take form.
Over the course of the eight relatively short tracks – we hear a little more about Holly over the synth laden keyboards and drum beats. There are moments of organic noise too – like on the eerily dissonant “Love”, which crescendos into a post-rock cacophony of guitar noise. “Pink” has an oddly familiar Twin Peaks soundtrack vibe, “Robots” furthers the day-dreamy feel while pondering on Holly (our central character) and pink robots in the sky. “Captain” is probably the most straight-up lo-fi indie tune of the collection, it reminds me of the work of East River Pipe – another “group” that mixes lo-fi keyboard pop with dark themes.
I’m fairly certain there is in fact, a concept thing going on here – there is a definite narrative on Holly and sadness and love. Most of the pieces are around the key of C major too – whether that’s intentional or just easier to play with three fingers on a keyboard is something to ponder, though – I’m not trying to get programmatic about it.
Holly is about as lo-fi and budget as an album can be nowadays without going to extreme effort to make it sound shitty . By not really having any “production” on it whatsoever – especially in an era where producers are elevated even higher than the artists they serve in some cases – it’s quite refreshing to know that one guy, a keyboard and a soundcard can make a record and put it up on Bandcamp and hundreds, maybe thousands of folks across the world will hear it. That gives me hope that all of this is not in vain. Faurholt is by no means the only person doing this today – but he’s the only one I’m writing and thinking about. To sum up, a brilliant little album.
Holly is available for download on Bandcamp – HERE. As a “pay what you want” download. But we think it deserves 39 DKK at least.
Holly is the little record that could. A delicate flower that grew through the crack in the industrial wasteland that is the future and past of music. One small album that is both enjoyable, pleasant and challenging at the same time. There is absolutely no risk involved by listening to, or even downloading this record – it’s free – but I think it’s definitely worth chucking a few krone at. I mean, a pack of smokes (Chesterfield at least) is 38.50 – about the same as a pint of lager if you’re lucky in this town – buy Jacob a round. (4/6)