Vegas-born, LA-based the Crystal Method always got pegged as a Stateside answer to the Chemical Brothers. If that's the case, it took the duo more than a decade to duplicate the formula: booming 4/4 dance-worthy drug epiphanies with loads of Very Special Guests. But duplicate it they have, and this time around (with last year's uncharacteristically diverse Divided By Night) that guest list more than helps renovate the sound-it completely re-boots it.
Over in the influences-on-sleeve aisle is New Order's Peter Hook, contributing those high-necked Hooky bass leads to "Dirty Thirty," a chunk-style instrumental, and "Blunts and Robots."
Justin Warfield's contribution, "Kling to the Wreckage," sounds destined for the next She Wants Revenge album, if he makes another one. It's so gosh-darned gothy it even opens with the couplet "This is a sad day/the saddest day we've ever known."
Jason Lyttle (ex-Grandaddy) whispers along with the blips and bleeps of "Slipstream," while Matisyahu nearly deifies "Drown in the Now," though it veers fairly far from old Crystal Method turf. LMFAO clearly has fun with the silliness of "Since Language," but elsewhere, the band appears more interested in exploring a more pop-friendly vocal direction, not always successfully. "Falling Hard," for instance, is a mawkish ballad that could almost be from Zero 7. Elsewhere, though, abound the beam-shuddering beats the Crystal Method is famous for.
From their L.A. studio, Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan recently submitted to a battery of nosy questions.
OC Weekly: Is there one moment in time you could pinpoint where the idea for the Crystal Method really started?
Scott Kirkland: For me it was seeing Depeche Mode here in LA on the Violator tour, which would have been summer of 1990. Depeche Mode, Nitzer Ebb, and Electronic.
It always seems like there's a lot of '80s industrial in there too.
Ken Jordan: We always listened to Cabaret Voltaire - that comes through in our music...
Scott Kirkland: Their synths were always sliced up and edited in a very different way. And we loved a lot of Front 242 as well!
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Ah, yes. And obviously New Order, which must have led to the Peter Hook collaboration?
Ken Jordan: Our managers are friends, so it's something we've been planning. He came and played all day, and told stories...
What sort of stories?
Ken Jordan: Drinking stories.
Scott Kirkland: He's a bloke you can have a beer with! Or he used to be. I think he's sober now.
Just like Matisyahu!
Ken Jordan: We were playing different stages at a festival in Vancouver, and Matisyahu visited our trailer. He came out during our set and did this impromptu rap-thing, just totally spur-of-the-moment. We stayed in touch, and...
Scott Kirkland: ...He could have easily said "I can't do it, I don't have time."
Ken Jordan: But we just sent him an instrumental and we loved what he did with it.
Scott Kirkland: Speaking of the '80s, Matisyahu came up with some really great Thompson Twins parts!
The Crystal Method perform on Thursday, July 15 at the Sutra Lounge in Costa Mesa.