Having started over 20 years ago, it is surprising that The Crystal Method‘s self-titled album is only their fifth studio album and their first in five years. Since their inception, The Crystal Method have been masters of the breakbeats; hits like “Busy Child,” “Name of the Game,” and “Trip Like I Do” all set a pretty consistent tone for the Los Angeles duo. Unfortunately, the group has not had a hit since the 90s and a lot has changed since then.
For their part, the Crystal Method aren’t stupid. They know times have changed and that they have to change with the times. Unfortunately, they change with the times about two years too late. The album’s lead single “Over It” feels like something Skrillex and Ellie Goulding would have collaborated on in 2011 with its aggressive elctro/dubstep beat and whispy female vocals provided by Dia Frampton. It does not bode well for the album that it was considered the strongest track to release in advance. The fact is it might be the strongest track on the album.
After “Over It,” the album goes downhill quickly. “Sling the Decks” is nearly unrecognizable as a Crystal Method track. Again, it seems to be culled from the same Skrillex-influence as “Over It” just this time with no vocals. When the album finally does regain vocals, it is with LeAnn Rimes on a track called “Grace.” Considering the rest of the album’s aggressive electro content, the track is a total outlier. Starting off as a symphonic piano ballad before adding a chill big beat feel to it. It might be the most classic sounding Crystal Method track on the album but it still does not grab the listener.
In the end, The Crystal Method sound like they are floundering on the album, a two decade old group searching for an identity. If their identity is to follow in the footsteps of Skrillex, it seems their legend is destined to fade. Hopefully the duo can regroup and forge ahead with a new identity because it would be tragic to lose a group that was so instrumental in America’s 90 electronic scene.