Crystal Castles’ fourth album is the first since frontwoman Alice Glass left in 2014, replaced by Edith Frances. What that means for the band’s chaotic live shows – Glass was agitator-in-chief – is not yet fully clear, but what it means for their records seems not to be a great deal. Glitchy beats, heavily treated vocals and passages of pulverising electronic noise are all still present, and there’s an abiding mood of kohl-eyed gloom. But if the sense of overfamiliarity is a bit disappointing for a band once lauded as experimentalists, producer Ethan Kath has also retained his knack for writing terrific hooks and warped melodies. Ornament and Kept are nuggets of brilliantly disjointed electropop.
Ally Carnwath writes on Africa and music for the Guardian and Observer