Crystal Shipsss - Scorched

8 songs
22:50 minutes
***** ***
Raw Onion


Itís been four long years since the last album by Crystal Shipsss. Since then the artist behind this project has been recording under his actual name Jacob Faurholt. If youíve been expecting something new from his more experimental alter ego project, you might be happy and/or disappointed, depending on your expectations. Itís true that these songs have never been released before, but they mostly have been recorded between his debut album Yay (2012) and his third album I Will See No Moon No Sky (2015). Some tracks have been left the way they were, some have been polished a little here and there. In the end, this can be considered a lost album that has been unearthed from an external hard drive that was possibly collecting dust for years.

The pleasant thing about Scorched is that it doesnít feel like a collection of assorted demos. It is stranger and less accessible than his last album Holly from 2016, but that doesnít make it any less interesting. The album begins with a couple of short tracks. The opener Solar People is an unexpectedly straightforward punk noise track full of heavy distortion. Unlike the fragile voice Jacob Faurholt uses when performing under his given name, he sings in a soaring falsetto that is an eerie contrast to the otherwise very reverb-heavy music. The following The Bear is a minimalist cover version of a song from My Morning Jacketís debut album, and apart from the different vocals and the fuzzy sounds happening in the background, this could also have been found on a Jacob Faurholt solo album. Black Forest is another mellow track, but again atypically distorted, and I even believe to have recognised an Omnichord somewhere in there. Scary Mountain is another noisy punk track, at forty-two seconds an intense mindfuck that feels as spooky as it feels out of this world. The first half of the album concludes with Tooth, at four and a half minutes the longest track on the album and also a more laidback track. This song has been produced by Jens Christian Madsen of the electro band Tjaere+Fjer.

Madsen also co-wrote and co-recorded Fire, a tribute to Twin Peaks, which opens the second half of the album. This is another bizarre track Ė and I soon will start to be running out of adjectives Ė which juxtaposes a drony, doomy guitar rhythm with a distorted electro drumbeat. Quite chilly, I must admit. The title track Scorched reprises the under one minute noise punk sound, although in an instrumental way. Control Your Fear is quite atmospheric and underneath all the distortion actually quite a catchy piece of music. The album ends with Sun, starting with a piano melody before more and more distortion is added, and then the album is over after hardly twenty-three minutes.

Before reading the info sheet of the album, I believed this to be some kind of concept album about intense heat, with song titles like Solar People, Fire, Scorched and Sun, combined with a general sound that gives the impression of smouldering in flames. And this is why I ended up enjoying Scorched as an album much more than if it had felt to like a mere collection of lost and/or misplaced recordings. While I always enjoy Jacob Faurholtís solo recordings, what makes him such an intriguing artist is eventually his dual personality that you can only enjoy at the fullest if you also listen to Crystal Shipsss. I am grateful that he is back with that side of his music.

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