You can tell a lot from an album cover; at least, I like to think so. Take Yay by Berlin artist Crystal Shipsss. A little girl stands by a swing. She cannot be more than 3 or 4. Covering her head completely is a nightmarish, skeletal face.
As such, when you dig into the 10″ EP on mint green vinyl, you’ll hear Jacob Faurholt splits his time between soft, playful songs and those with a heavier, fuzzed-out sound. Both sides are abundantly dreamy, fronted by his twee-ish but eerie falsetto vocals atop a backdrop of somewhat minimalist lo-fi psych-pop. This doesn’t adequately equate to what I’m getting at, so bear with me.
Opener “Smile” begins with a light guitar and vocals. This is the pleasant side of Crystal Shipsss. You hear this again on album-topper and midpoint “Crystal Lipsss”, which starts soft and pleasant before opening up into a strong, repetitive hazy guitar riff and numbing background noise. The floor drops out at the end and Faurholt enters briefly on vocals before the song ends.
These days I’d typically lean toward the heavier, more psyched-out sound, but I love what Crystal Shipsss pulls off with the lighter end. It’s a different sort of psychedelic pop than we’ve enjoyed of late, meaning it’s a fresh change of pace. Still, songs like “Burning Kingdom” (album topper #2) and “Geyser” have a monumental, almost frightening sound.
Yay plays out like a dream — you have a vague sense of what’s going on, but it’s all a bit fuzzy. Reality isn’t quite what you’d expect and things can go from seemingly normal to utterly terrifying in no time at all.
Listen to “Geyser” and watch “Burning Kingdom” below. Head over to Crystal Shipsss’ bandcamp page to grab the EP!
Three Ring Records [10″ EP, 2012]
3. My Dark Slimy Soul
4. Uh Huh
6. Crystal Lipsss
7. Bloodstained Eyes
8. The Jacket
9. Burning Kingdom