Crystal Castles / Affection
Part of Crystal Castles’ appeal has always been their camera and press-shy mystique, which most likely manifested as a means to side-step the PR circus and avoid overexposure in an exposure-hungry age. But primarily it serves to bolster their carefully honed aesthetic of the withdrawn and mercurial goth introvert, the likes of which you’ll readily find in any fifth form cafeteria, casually skulking in the fringes on their lonesome, nose furrowed deep in Plath or Nietzsche.
The duo’s intimate insularity is so alienating and deliberate that it’s easy to perceive them as two members of an exclusive clique, or two close siblings distrusting enough to invent their own internal language of codes and ciphers — which is why it’s always striking when they come out of the woodwork for videos like this, to see them finally lift the funereal veil from their costumes of reticence and momentarily show the world just what the hell their deal is.
What we glimpse, at least on Alice’s part, is almost always a resistive form of non-performance, a lethargic goth posturing as affected as a punk rock snarl, which navigates a similarly uneasy divide between “I don’t care” and “but look at how much I don’t care.”
Whether propped up like an uncooperative mannequin in the video for “Suffocation,” or strangling herself with her own mic cord and pretend-shooting herself in the head, Kim Pine style, in this latest for “Affection”, Glass’ pantomimes are knowingly apathetic fuck yous to enthusiasm and life in general; “Catch a moth falling in your hand / Crush it casually,” Glass instructs here in desultory sing-sigh, as the harsh light of a torch beam illuminates her corpselike paleness—her own macabre version of being in the limelight.
It would feel a lot more phony if it wasn’t delivered by a group who rarely make these types of appearances, or a group who weren’t already 3 albums deep into besotted goth territory.
For now it sort of reminds me of the Fitzgerald sisters’ slideshow at the beginning of Ginger Snaps (a deserving touchstone for budding misanthropes), in that it’s a teeth baring exercise of the most passive kind, created by two people who’d rather be dead than be the rest of us.