The first time I heard Crystal Fighters it was over three years ago at a house party. Two guys, who turned into youtube-DJs for that evening, played this exotic and ecstatic song and immediately started jumping and shouting one verse which I could not understand at the time. I approached their laptop and saw the video for the track which helped me realize that those two were only trying to imitate the girl they could see on the screen and that the line they were screaming was at the same time the title of the track – I Love London.
The next morning I started digging through Internet with excitement. It turned out that Crystal Fighters had been founded by three members – Sebastian Pringle, Gilbert Vierich and Graham Dickson – and that the idea behind the band is to mix traditional Basque instruments with modern dance music. The effect is that ‘exotic’ taste of I Love London which I learnt is the sound of txalaparta. And although Crystal Fighters will always be associated with the folk music of that particular region of Spain, it should not be mistaken that any of the founding members has Basque background. Their fascination was born when they bumped into an old notebooks of the grandfather of their mutal friend Laure Stockley who became one of the vocalists of the band (and who is not in it anymore). But more importantly, I was able to find more music as it turned out that Xtatic Truth, a really intensive track, had been released even before I Love London.
And then 2010 came and it proved to be a really breakthrough year for Crystal Fighters – in October they released an extremely good debut album Star Of Love. Each of the songs included in the tracklist was an absolute hit and few of them became the anthems of the next summer. Crystal Fighters rose to fame due to their style and excellent songwriting but what kept people talking about them was their live performances. The great power and energy enabled the members of the band to change each gig into the dance-punk fiesta built around folk music.
When 2012 arrived the natural questions about new album started to arise. And also there was this obvious doubt in the case of follow ups to great debut albums – are they able to repeat the success? Earth Island, a new song published in 2012 as a bonus track for the US release of Star Of Love, seemed to confirm that Crystal Fighters are able to record another great album using the same excellent ideas and still sound fresh. This song appeared also on our Top 100 tracks of 2012 list as #11.
2013 brought answers and the truth was not pleasant for everyone. Cave Rave, a second album from Crystal Fighters, cannot compete with Star Of Love when it comes to musical content. It has good moments but in general it has less power and lacks this pure joy that the debut album possesses. Some tracks drift dangerously towards the sound of an annoying indie rock. We should not forget, however, that this a concert we are talking about and that Crystal Fighters know how to deal with this business. Gigs that have already took place in 2013 showed that the band composes the setlist by balancing the new tracks with the old ones which can satisfy Star Of Love lovers and maybe convince them that Cave Rave has something to offer. And this is exactly the attitude which will accompany me at the Crystal Fighters’ concert in Cracow, Poland. The city is considered to be full of students so bearing in mind band’s popularity in this country we can expect the Studio club to be packed with young people which can provide a perfect atmosphere. And maybe we will all end up like those youtube-DJs – jumping and shouting?
– place: Studio, Cracow
– date: Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013
– price: 79/90 PLN