Singer Alice Glass is departing Toronto electronic duo Crystal Castles, a collaboration with producer-instrumentalist Ethan Kath. Glass revealed the news on her solo Facebook page, adding that her exit marks “the end of the band.”
“I am leaving Crystal Castles,” she wrote, noting plans to continue on her own. “My art and my self-expression in any form has always been an attempt towards sincerity, honesty and empathy for others. For a multitude of reasons both professional and personal, I no longer feel that this is possible within CC. Although this is the end of the band, I hope my fans will embrace me as a solo artist in the same way they have embraced Crystal Castles.”
The band began as a Kath solo project in 2003, but the producer recruited a 15-year-old Glass – then a singer in all-female Toronto punk outfit Fetus Fatale – to add vocals. Glass recorded rough soundcheck vocals for five tracks, which were secretly recorded by an engineer, and Kath uploaded the material online under the name Crystal Castles, a reference to the cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
After releasing a handful of demos, the band delivered their first self-titled studio album in 2008, creating a critical buzz with their unique blend of eight-bit wackiness, seductive synth-pop and brutal electronic noise. In 2010, the band released a second LP, which featured production work from high-profile veterans like Paul Epworth and Jacknife Lee; a memorable cover of Platinum Blonde’s 1983 New Wave classic “Not In Love” – with the Cure‘s Robert Smith on lead vocals – was released as a remixed single. The band’s final album, self-produced by Kath, was released in 2012.
The duo also earned praise for their chaotic live shows, which occasionally veered into stage-diving and instrument destruction; throughout their run, the duo opened for major acts like Blur, Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails.
Crystal Castles had been relatively quiet following the November 2012 release of their third album and its accompanying 2013 tour. Most of the press they did for the LP was through e-mail, and the duo were very selective about the questions they answered.