Canadian Music Corner: Crystal Castles & Two Hours Traffic

Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

One of the latest genres to really take form is space pop. It’s not a style that has even really coalesced into anything, but bands in this area have noticeable similarities.

Often a female vocalist, plenty of electronica and trance influences, high production value, some synth, some symphonic references, these are all hallmarks of the genre so far.

One of the first bands to really embrace a lot of these points was Crystal Castles, though the group doesn’t self-describe as space pop. A studio duo/live trio based in Toronto, the band formed in 2004 and has been riding a moderate wave of success since the 2010 album Crystal Castles (all the albums are called Crystal Castles, so this is often referred to as Crystal Castles II), which included the single “Not In Love” that featured The Cure’s Robert Smith on vocals.

The most recent album, Crystal Castles III, continues the electronic pop hooks and thumping beats and dreamy vocals.

The new single, “Wrath of God,” has been doing well on CBC Music and received positive reviews from across the Internet by the likes of the cutting-edge music website Pitchfork and music magazine Fader.

Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor Ω

Calling Charlottetown, P.E.I. home, Two Hours Traffic is an alternative pop rock group that has been hanging around the scene since the release of its 2003 EP, The April Storm.

Despite recording music for nearly a full decade, Two Hours Traffic has just started to make noise within Canadian music over the past five years.

The release of 2007’s Little Jabs featured the single, “Heroes of the Sidewalk,” a catchy acoustic pop track reminiscent of late-1990’s Goo Goo Dolls material. This was the band’s first work with The Bumstead Recording Company.

The group continued its surge with 2009’s Territory, a strong follow-up to Little Jabs.

After three years of relative silence, Two Hours Traffic returned in September 2012 with the release of the four-track EP, Siren Spell. “Amour Than Amis” is the newest single from the EP, a heart-felt track about a young couple who are more than friends but not quite in love. Frontman Liam Corcoran belts out, “We are more than just amis, but lovers we are not.”

The new EP also features the track “Audrey,” which rolls in with a commanding drumline.

Fans of Hamilton rockers the Arkells will most definitely appreciate the efforts of Two Hours Traffic as they continue to emerge onto the ever-expanding Canadian music scene.

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