Experimental/electronic duo Crystal Castles is not typically remembered for its lyrics, so the focus put on them on their third album, “(III),” is a startling — but not unwelcome —change. The group has also shifted from its signature discordance (which may be putting
it lightly) to a much more organized, melodic sound overall, supplemented by Alice Glass’s haunting vocals. Frankly, its elegance makes the album all the more chilling. If the cover itself isn’t a dead giveaway to the nature of the album, track titles like “Plague,” “Wrath of God” and “Violent Youth” are mere euphemisms when compared to the gravity of the social issues highlighted within the songs: disease, warfare, child exploitation, repression, the abuse of women and the list goes on. With “(III),” Crystal Castles has an urgent message they are completely unabashed in whispering, shouting and occasionally pounding into your ears. Fans of the group who desire a more ear–numbing, jarring musical experience may be disappointed by the simple, weary sadness of songs such as “Child I Will Hurt You” and the instrumental “Telepath,” but all will be able to appreciate that the synth is alive more than ever. It’s just being channeled in a new direction.