Hearing Aide: Crystal Fighters ‘Everything Is My Family’

Everyone needs some feel good dance music in their life and mainstream pop doesn’t always tickle the fancy of listeners. Crystal Fighters found a way to create a cultured, unique and all around fun album to enjoy, with past albums like Cave Rave and Star of Love inspiring some good feelings. A majority of their songs were uplifting but some had a darker, more intense feeling to them. Their new album, Everything is My Family, is a bit contrary to their prior work. It has a more straightforward structure to it and many characteristics of today’s pop songs. But the groups Bosque roots and use of organic instruments from that area of Spain sets this apart from mainstream pop songs and it makes for an interesting and different take on the genre.

The sound isn’t the only thing that’s interesting; The story behind the group’s beginnings is almost too good to be true. Group vocalist, Laure Stockley, found her deceased grandfather’s unfinished opera that he started in his last days when he was deemed insane, according to The Guardian. Earlier albums were created in an attempt to finish and recreate some parts of the unfinished play, but that vibe and character they have created has taken on a life of it’s own which now isn’t so dark and insane. It’s more uplifting and motivational and heavily based around partying and having a good time.

Some people might think the lyrics a little corny, but deep lyrical content was never the focal point of pop/dance music. Looking past that,  listeners will find the group has a great story and inspiration behind it, along with a tasteful twist on a tired out genre.

“Yellow Sun” is up first and it could be seen as background music for a Corona commercial, where “twentysomething’s” dance  around a makeshift bonfire under a moonlit sky. There’s a fair amount of acoustic instrumentation with hints of synthetic sounds and it makes for a good segue into the moral/ direction of the album. The following track “Good Girls” has the same feel but includes more of a synthetic sound. They’re both key tracks that prepare listeners for Crystal Fighters’ change of pace.

“Live For You” is the only ballad on the album.  It’s a spacey and euphoric tune that’s synthetically driven but includes a plethora of unique but pleasant tones that make it intriguing and immersive. Vocalists whisper lyrics through a slightly auto-tuned tone but it’s sung over acoustic drums and acoustic guitar which gives a cool contrast.

“Ways I Can’t Tell” is one of their less impressive songs. It was definitely created for the rave scene. It’s very predictable and has no other purpose but as a build of for a drop. The drop isn’t really that special either, but it’ll make a nice addition to a dance/ pop playlist for die hard fans of the genre.

“All Night” is going to be hit or miss with listeners too. It’s very tribal with light touches of synthetic instrumentation but it’s very busy and polyrhythmic, meaning there’s a number of conflicting rhythms and percussion instruments. It’s what gives music that primitive or tribal sound. Fighters uses it a lot in this album but it’s very prominent in this track.

“Fly East” is one of the most interesting songs on the album. It builds in the strangest way and at first listen is completely unpredictable. It’s the longest track on the album and it needs to be because it’s always changing direction and tone. It’s light and dark, excitable then settled and is over all just epic. The end of the song is unfortunately a let down. There’s so much time spent building up this feeling with different directions, and it lazily concludes with a fade out. At the same time, it’s hard to imagine what would be the perfect ending for the song would be.

“Lay Low” caps off the album with a natural and uplifting tone. It consists of almost all acoustic instruments and holds a powerful message about living life to the fullest while it’s still good. The music isn’t very complex so listeners can focus on the meaningful lyrical content a little bit more. The music is still catchy and fun and it makes a perfect ending to an inspiring album.

The album is available on multiple platforms and are coming to Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg April 5 and 6.

Key Tracks: Yellow Sun, Fly East, Lay Low