Crystal Stilts first came to attention with a self-titled EP in 2005 and 2008’s Alight of Night, an early ripple in what would soon be perceived of as a wave of fuzzy, reverb-laden bands memorably dubbed “Jangle-Schrammelpop” by one German reviewer. The intervening years have seen the band grow and evolve, with 2011’s robust In Love With Oblivion, and the Radiant Door EP, their debut release for Sacred Bones.
Founded by vocalist Brad Hargett and guitarist JB Townsend, Crystal Stilts have since come to include Andy Adler on bass, Keegan Cooke on drums, and organist Kyle Forester. Together the five-piece have crafted the band’s latest LP, Nature Noir. Recorded in the damp spring of 2013, this newest disc finds the group expanding their palette to include strings, percussion, and synthesizers, to create a record that is both more sonically adventurous and a more personal and humane statement than their previous work. On tracks such as “Star Crawl” and “Sticks and Stones”, Hargett’s vocals have a striking clarity and soulfulness, while the musical arrangements throughout display a sophistication that may be surprising to those who previously thought of the band as “lo-fi”. Meanwhile, album opener “Spirit in Front of Me” and the ripping “Future Folklore” showcase the psychedelic grit that has long been a trademark sound.