1 Feb 2023

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Crystal - EP Review: Garlic Ice Cream

07 Oct 2022 // A review by Danica Bryant

Aotearoa artist and producer Crystal delves into the complexities of youth on Garlic Ice Cream. The debut EP takes a heavily electronic approach to the anxieties of stepping into adulthood, empowered by Crystal’s honest songwriting and production skill.

The most immediately prominent element of Garlic Ice Cream is its lyrical content, which revolves around imagery of the “suburban nightmare”. Each song is filled with wine, sunsets, and the names of her specific friends, imagining a romanticised version of life’s most mundane parts. Whilst this visual nature often crafts a relatable, expressive world, occasional slang like mentioning a “Karen at the cafe” on opener Better can sometimes pull listeners out of the track and impact its timelessness. Elsewhere, earnest descriptions of personal moments, like a public panic attack on We Feel The Same, gives the collection an intense feeling of authenticity and personality. Crystal delivers each line in an accented, dark manner, clearly influenced by the moody vocals of acts like Halsey and Lorde. 

Sonically, the EP is extremely cohesive, blending alt-pop with more experimental elements of drum and bass, electronica and hyperpop. Crystal often uses thick autotune on her voice to creatively convey her discomfort in expressing real emotions. This provides meaning and interest to each song, as well as crafting a sound that is distinctively Crystal, which is not always an easy feat for an upcoming performer. The vocal melodies are simple rather than demanding on tracks like We Feel The Same and One Dollar Pizza. But their busy rhythms, careful rhymes, and clattering electronic percussion keep a fire lit beneath each number. Whilst the project can become too similar listening in one dose, each song is impressively polished. Crystal’s self-production is clean, creative, and always high quality.

What also strikes the listener about Garlic Ice Cream is its sense of perpetual motion. Crystal drives in cars, rides the subway and eventually catches a plain to move “up North” in her lyrics. This literal desire to travel represents an underscoring desperation to keep up with the stress of change, and how quickly her peers seem to move through life. This is most aptly expressed on closing track Perplexed, which stacks emotive vocal ad-libs over rattling digital drums and bursting synths to musically manifest the exact feeling it finds its name in. As Crystal lists off the fates off her friends travelling the globe by name, it’s hard not to feel like you’re part of their group, struggling through the goodbyes alongside her and wondering where your own destiny lies.

The final line of Garlic Ice Cream sees Crystal promise listeners she’ll tell us “what happens next”. Indeed, alt-pop lovers will be curious to find out, as this stunning debut EP defines Crystal as an artist for whom the sky's the only limit.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Crystal

Crystal is an emerging electronic pop producer- singer-songwriter from Wellington. Having lived there her whole life, she draws inspiration from what it’s like to be a young in this windy city, dreaming bigger than the scene she immerses herself in. Having already performed at Newtown Festival and Cupa Dupa this year, she is set to release her debut single, and EP in the upcoming months.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Crystal


Garlic Ice Cream
Year: 2022
Type: EP

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