Crystal Stilts, Radiant Door

Ian Cohen

By Ian Cohen

on 11.15.11 in Reviews
At their most expansive, even if they’re just nudging at their boundaries

On their previous LPs, Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts came off like a band of good ol’ fashioned record nerds that spent years of apprenticeship studying what made their favorites click — the caustic reverberations of early Jesus & Mary Chain, Joy Divison’s morbid reveries, lots and lots of Velvet Underground. But things can get a bit stifling when you’re stuck in your attic with all that vinyl, and when “Dark Eyes” kicks off Radiant Door with stereo-panned block percussion and acoustic strumming, you can hear the claustrophobic, musty production being split wide open. Though only 20 minutes long, it’s Crystal Stilts at their most expansive even if they’re just nudging at their boundaries: “Frost Inside the Asylums” nods a bit towards VU’s raga-influenced drones and Brad Hargett’s vocals on the twangy noir “Still As The Night” are some of the most maundering you’ll hear from someone who’s still alive. Still, as the title indicates, Radiant Door is something of a way out for these black-clad classicists into a sunnier disposition.