Review: Crystal Fighters – Cave Rave

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Crystal Fighters’ debut album, Star of Love, was always going to be a hard act to follow. Luckily, they have not disappointed, producing the more lyrically-driven Cave Rave which maintains the Basque-folk and techno blend of the first album, whilst creating its own vibrant energy. It seems the natural progression from Star of Love; a more experimental venture into the music industry, with a more refined and coherent style. With a unique blend of Basque music and contemporary dance, their sound is unusual, but full of an earthy vibrancy that the mix creates.

Crystal Fighters wrote this new album during a two month retreat in their spiritual home in the Basque hills. This influence is apparent in much of the vocalisation, and in the use of local instruments such as the txalapartas. Where their first album was personal to their experiences and full of hope and new ideas, Cave Rave reflects on more universal concepts such as spirituality, humanity and belonging, especially evident in the track ‘Separator’. Though they have come a long way in conceptual lyrics, they’ve not lost the urgency and freshness that their sound has been well-loved for. Though it does lack the experimental excitement, it makes up for this in marrying the mix of genres previously explored for a definite style. There are places where the tracks have too similar a vibe and become almost repetitive, but this is not a problem throughout — tracks such as ‘Bridge of Bones’ have an entirely new feel.

Overall, this is set to be a fantastic summer album, with bright, atmospheric tracks. They have even announced plans for an actual Basque cave rave in Pamplona to celebrate the album’s release and upcoming tour.

Whilst not as striking as their debut, Crystal Fighter’s Cave Rave has none of the traits of a difficult second album, managing to maintain a fresh energy without harking back to their previous work too much. The album, produced by Grammy nominated Justin Meldal-Johnsen, drops on 27th May. Let the rave begin.

Track to download: ‘You & I’

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