Crystal Castles - Courtship Dating - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Crystal Castles - Courtship Dating

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Sometimes a prime slice of swirling nihilism is just what you need to get you through the night, and it didn't come any blacker than this single in 2008. Empty of anything resembling a tune but irresistible in its heavily-mannered dancefloor attack, 'Courtship Dating' saw Crystal Castles upgrade the doom and drama of proto-gothers The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees for a new digital generation. And, like the early classics of those bands, 'Courtship Dating' is just perfect for a bit of adolescent posing. It's all sharp edges, bubbling frustration, ambient sang froid punctured by sudden outbursts of horrorshow violence. It chimes perfectly with Crystal Castles' image. Everything about them screams 'teen depression/obsession band'. Singer Alice Glass, with her kholed-to-death eyes and hoodie, looks like she's just stepped out of a piece of Daily Mail scare-mongering hackery on the dangers of emo. Except instead of loitering outside a suburban shopping centre, she's fronting music that's both challenging and danceable.

This track gave Crystal Castles a toehold on the mainstream. Some of this was to be expected (NME love them), some was not. Timbaland sampled 'Courtship Dating' on the otherwise woeful 'Ayo Technology' by walking sense apocalypse 50 Cent. Timbo may be responsible for some of the feeblest R'n'B in recent memory, but he's a smart dude and maybe he wanted to borrow 'Courtship Dating's air of frosty gloom because he could sense a sea change coming in the culture junk being peddled to young people. The 'vamps come out to play' chorus of his new single 'Morning After Dark' suggests he's on to a winner, because in 2009 the dark is everywhere: the Twilight vampire movies are massive; Batman films are full of post-9/11 paranoia; even Harry Potter, the nerdy every-kid who happens to be a wizard, has been given a brooding anti-hero makeover like he's bloody De Nero in Taxi Driver, praying for a hard rain to wash the scum off the Hogwarts' playground.

What this has to do with 'Courtship Dating' is, of course, tangential, but the point is that a little darkness is good for young people. Kids need more dance music like this. None of that glow sticks aloft, brain-rotting Gatecrasher nonsense. The best thing one can say about 'Courtship Dating' is that when it's played in a club, weird kids with great record collections finally get a chance to pull.

Richard Morris

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