Album Review: Crystal Fighters – Everything Is My Family
A Crystal Fighters album is always a unique experience. Their hectic combination of Basque folk music and dance beats is something you don’t hear much of, and feels refreshing without even trying. Since 2013’s Cave Rave, though, the band has faced a few forced changes. With the death of their drummer Andrea Marongiu in 2014, the band finds themselves down a key member. However, their time since was spent in the Basque country and Central America, spending time with nature and recharging. Now that we’ve heard the result of their break, it’s clear to see that it was the best choice for them; Everything Is My Family far and away contains the best music they’ve created to date.
To put it simply, Everything Is My Family slots neatly into Crystal Fighters’ discography. It continues the trend of mixing Basque folk instruments and melodies with modern dance beats, though the band’s claims that its upbeat dance elements were amped up was definitely matched. Songs like Good Girls and Ways I Can’t Tell open like upbeat folk tracks, with racing percussion and lively instruments, before evolving into banging dance tracks for their choruses. The beats are heavier, the tempo races faster, and in certain cases the electronics even take over completely. In Your Arms is as close to a modern dance track as they’ve gone, complete with an aggressive drop and commanding vocals with barely any folk presence whatsoever. This increased focus on dance beats does wonders for the album, and you’d be hard pressed to find a song like this that doesn’t get you dancing.
Simultaneously, however, they aren’t afraid to embrace the other side of the spectrum. All Night follows the formula of Good Girls without evolving into a dance track, instead remaining consistent throughout, and Moondog takes it a step further and creates a relaxing rock track out of it instead, with no electronics whatsoever. The true point of focus, however, is Fly East. Opening as a trippy folk rock track, it morphs back and forth between the folksy strum of a guitar and the psychedelic runs of electric guitar and dreamy vocals, lasting for almost seven minutes but transforming itself into a true journey as it does so. Each explosion of guitar and percussion gives more power to the song and keeping it interesting and enlightening throughout, never resting for too long before picking itself back up again.
In terms of its elements and overall references, Everything Is My Family isn’t that different from previous Crystal Fighters albums. In scope and production, however, it’s got a kind of polished sheen and spark of life that makes it feel much more natural for them even as it embraces the less natural side of their music. While the band may have faced its own personal tragedy, they’ve thankfully come out the other side in one piece and at full force. Crystal Fighters definitely aren’t done yet, and if Everything Is My Family is a sign of things to come, they hopefully won’t be gone any time soon either.