[15 November 2011]
Sometimes you hear something new, fresh, and it reminds you of why music is, as the philosopher Eric Olson once said, “The sound of life”. “Champion Sound” by Crystal Fighters did that for me today.
Imagine Stereo MCs covering Fleetwood Mac via Empire of the Sun—those are the touchstones. It’s odd, but still within stroking-distance of convention; there’s some bizarre sunshine in there (that’ll be the Fleetwood Mac, or if you prefer, Empire of the Sun) and it’s the kind of record you never want to end. It takes you places and sends you leapfrogging up and down your memories, remembering all sorts of luscious occasions – usually to do with love and summer and girls (or boys).
By way of birth, the three-piece Crystal Fighters are British, with a core USP to blend electronic dance music with a Spanish influence. They fit into that hard to categorize musical new world that seems to be rising, where all is mashed up – the sound of influences and formats and fingers on FFWD buttons, the rejection of formality, all rolled into one act. Case in point, the latest M83 album the other day (Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming), which as part of this search for newness swerves the tedious demands of conventional structuring completely. Whether it’s the influences of dance music filtering down from the ‘90s or, as is suggested in M83’s case, the shadow of prog-rock, I just can’t tell.
Whatever the weather, Crystal Fighters fit this emerging odd-form bill to a tee, because on the strength of “Champion Sound” alone they’re less song-smiths more evokers. Less the sound of a band, more the sound of music to be enjoyed any old how. There’s much talk about the place of how they also try to channel Basque music, too, but that’s all way too need to know, to be honest. Don’t finger the label, feel the cut. It’s quite delightful.