Every New York band dabbling in clanky, druggy DIY rock’n’roll since 1970 has to some extent or other impersonated The Velvet Underground. Some have done it better than others, and no one has done it better than Crystal Stilts do on this, their third album. It sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not. ‘Nature Noir’ features 10 wobbly psychedelic songs that are more hit than miss, all of them anti-produced to give them that too-high-to-try feel.

The vocals are vaguely doomy, morose and deadpan and largely indecipherable, the drums sound like they’re made out of paper and tin, the guitars buckle under their own thin rattle, and yet it doesn’t take a genius to realise that Crystal Stilts are better than they can be bothered to be. That’s how they’re most like The Velvets (that and their new inclusion of pseudo decadent strings on songs like ‘Memory Room’). It’s never been enough to simply be lo-fi, and while louche beyond reason, don’t think that ‘Nature Noir’ puts atheistic before the songs themselves.


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