To stumble upon I Will See No Moon No Sky is to be presented with a mystery, one that Danish group Crystal Shipsss only muddy further as the album is further delved into. On the surface, their name implies a more informal tone, and the album’s cover appears appropriate for a band of the indie rock persuasion. But from the opening drones of “METAL” to the engulfing beauty of closer “HEAD,” Crystal Shipsss present a starkly contrasting narrative that captivates with its bold, unique sound. The album’s title is perhaps the only appropriate indicator of the album’s sound, as each of these six tracks and their collective impact encompass a journey into the sun; a voyage marked with inevitable death by combustion but steeped in the euphoria of infinite light and warmth.
Discussing Crystal Shipsss’ sound utilizes several familiar names whose synthesis is altogether fresh and invigorating. At its core, I Will See No Moon No Sky feels like an impressively smooth swirl of the light and darkness of Sigur Rós and Sunn O))) – respectively – processed through the ambient, electronic lens of Gas and Peals. Both halves of drone’s juxtaposing face seamlessly melding the penetrating feelings of despair and bliss. Every moment on the album hijacks the listener’s attention and initiates a trance-like experience, so much so that the album’s seamless shifts in tones seem fluid and natural. The result feels like an organic look at the final moments of life referenced in this review’s introduction; a rapidly shifting emotional spectrum that organically wobbles between the ecstasy of life and its ultimate abandonment. What furthers this notable combination is each track’s packaging; every offering accomplishes the immersing purpose of a drone piece while also remaining an experience in sound rather than song length. Perhaps this may have been further capitalized on with a few additional tracks, but this problem only leads the listener to restart the album as soon as it has concluded.
What further solidifies the Sigur Rós comparison – and may perhaps deter some listeners – is the resemblance of Crystal Shipsss’ vocals to Jónsi Birgisson’s distinguished falsetto, with some tinges of Thom Yorke’s higher registry. However, Crystal Shipsss’ falsettos are slightly less melodic and work within vocal patterns that seem to be swallowed within the abyss of sound rather than soaring above it. Admittedly, the vocals are somewhat strange and draw the entirety of the listener’s attention when they arrive. This is not to insinuate that the vocals are bad; if anything, they are an appropriate personification of the soul’s emotional vocalization within this review’s solar journey narrative. This is especially true on “HEAD,” where the ethereal production techniques placed upon the vocals capitalize on their innate strengths. Their appearance elsewhere is fairly sparse, and listeners who are initially unimpressed with the vocals would benefit from some growing time to allow their presence’s purpose to fully sink in.
This is ultimately the only appropriate reaction to I Will See No Moon No Sky: submission. While the majority of drone music pacifies the listener without the need of development, Crystal Shipsss dazzle with their ability to craft songs that fulfill the drone mission statement while also paying close attention to song structures that verge on accessible, immediate pleasure. Listeners who wish to delve into drone with a palate bearing an insatiable need for exotic quenching should snag I Will See No Moon No Sky and prepare for an excursion full of perverse pleasures that will be sought innumerable times over.
Crystal Shipsss – I Will See No Moon No Sky gets…