People go through life taking family for granted—those who put the pieces back together when everything falls apart—but Crystal Fighters new album, Everything Is Family reminds you that, in fact, family is everything.
The band was formed in 2007, after an incomplete opera—entitled Crystal Fighters—was found by vocalist Laure Stockley at her Basque grandfather’s house in Spain after he died. She felt the need to complete it for him so returned to London, enlisted a few friends, and began making music. Crystal Fighters was born.
Everything Is Family may be their third album, but it is the first album since the loss of drummer Andrea Marongiu who died unexpectedly of a heart condition in 2014. Losing a bandmate is like losing a limb and this album is a nod to Marongiu’s life and the importance he had within the band as part of their family.
The lyrics in “Ways I Can’t Tell,” the band’s lead singer Sebastian Pringle sings “you and me, peas in a pod, me on the guitar you on the drums” over Japanese-style arpeggio chords and fast drum and bass beats that bite the heels of early noughties synthesized keyboard. An uplifting song with a sullen undertone and a killer hook; this is a dance eulogy for Marongiu.
Baroque folk influences are prevalent throughout; ukulele riffs and foot-stomping mixed with layered harmonic vocals make appearances in “All Night,” “Yellow Sun,” and “Good Girls.” As the album progresses, the fun, happy-go-lucky sound synonymous with Crystal Fighters shifts to pastures of exploratory fusion of folk, EDM, and prog-rock in tracks like “Fly East” and “The Moondog.”
Losing a bandmate is like losing a limb and this album is a nod to Marongiu’s life and the importance he had within the band as part of their family
“Fly East” is the highlight of the album; a seven-minute prog-rock ballad channelling early Pink Floyd yet bringing it into the modern day. The track begins with crackling reverberation, heavy strums of echoing guitar, and highly distorted vocals shouting “I am the moon, I am the sea, I am the truth, you came to me,” whilst an Asian-inspired chorus purrs in the background. This is unlike any Crystal Fighters track before, and I am hoping they hold onto it with both hands.
The album ends with a heart-warming, stomach tingling finale; “Lay Low” evokes so much emotion with gospel-style vocals spread over a thick piece of twanging guitar and a gentle thud of drums mimicking the human heart beat. The lyrics pack the emotional punch: “Friends I love you so, it’s a matter of time, before we leave the ones we know.”
Everything Is Family takes the band through their loss of Andrea Marongiu and comes out the other side as new, more mature, Crystal Fighters.