Album Review: Crystal Method, ‘Crystal Method’

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They still got it.

With the release of their self-titled record, The Crystal Method prove that even in today’s supersaturated world of EDM they are still as relevant, fun and dynamic as they were when they were the young upstarts in the scene 20 years ago.

The duo of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland didn’t need to produce a record like this. The two could’ve remained content producing theme songs for shows like Almost Human or Bones and casually release some new music whenever they felt like it. Instead, the duo decided to roll up their sleeves and tackle the sound of the overcrowded scene known as modern EDM.

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For many bands/outfits embracing a newer version of a sound that they’ve performed their whole career — it doesn’t always work out well, in fact sometimes the results are disastrous. Look at Kiss when they dropped the make-up in the ’80s and produced songs like “Heaven’s on Fire” and “Put the X in Sex.” There’s a reason this part of their career it’s often referred to as their dark period. Luckily, The Crystal Method avoids sounding like they are trying to be current and seamlessly embrace the sound and soul of today’s electronic music craze.

One of the downsides of this modern musical embrace is that the duo has replaced their patented use of wild guitar riffs with heavy synth laden interludes. These interludes don’t are hit-or-miss as they sometimes sound as if they’d have a better home on a Daft Punk record and sometimes sound like vintage Crystal Method.

If we’re talking missteps, the weakest efforts on the album come from the group’s collaborations with female singers Dia Frampton and LeAnn Rimes. Yes, that LeAnn Rimes. The songs are a little too ethereal, a little too Top 40 Calvin Harris/Zedd-sounding. Despite Crystal Method’s penchant for creating hit songs, they’ve never developed tracks that are so overtly pop like these collabs.

Outside of these few weaknesses, the duo’s self-titled record is actually a really enjoyable, high-energy romp that fuses the wild break beat big bass sound we’ve come to expect from them with the roller coaster ride of drops and breaks of modern day EDM. A collab on this record that does work is “Drive” which features Franky Perez (best known his song work on Sons of Anarchy). It’s a big, bombastic crowd pleaser of a track that’s anchor by the soulful raspiness of Perez. It’s a killer dichotomy, something the Method is known for.

“Sling the Decks” is the ultimate banger of the record. It’s a perfect mash-up of old school electro synth; wild and that modern day big build and bass drop that’s been poured into the Crystal Method formula of funky, big bass break beats. The end result plays like a near historical piece evoking the last 30 plus years of electronic music.

The Crystal Method’s latest release is an enjoyable electronic excursion but is not without warts. This is a solid release that has a few tracks to add to your playlist, but nothing groundbreaking. Definitely worth a spin if you’re into EDM and are looking for something that’s different from the glut of faceless nob turners out there.

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites