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Crystal Fantasy / Hair Police - Split 10"

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Artist: Crystal Fantasy / Hair Police

Album: Split 10"

Label: Liquid Death/Hello Pussy

Review date: Mar. 2, 2005

They operate on two different ends of the same spectrum, but there’s a kinship between Hair Police and Crystal Fantasy that isn’t too apparent between the grooves of this record. The latter, who have also made spastic day-glo waves under the moniker of Neon Hunk, are starry-eyed transmitters of 8-bit, easy listening grooves. Hair Police deal in more guttural, abrasive fare, so the flip from side A to B isn’t the most gentle of transitions. The two groups certainly share a determination to explore the far reaches, however, and while Crystal Fantasy drift into cartoon clouds and Hair Police writhe underground, it’s this desire to take the mind to a new level that unites the pair.

Crystal Fantasy hail from Milwaukee, but the four pieces that constitute their side are from another world. One where Lisa Frank designs come to life, roads are built of rainbows and the sky is illuminated by every color across the spectrum. Through modulated vocals, one can discern the tale of a trip to a magical land, complete with unicorns and a crystal lake. Synthesized squiggles cross a field of minimalist fluorescent electronics as tasteful effects accompany the dialogue. Musically, there’s not a great deal to Crystal Fantasy, but the colorful atmosphere of their colored-pencil fantasy has a distinct charm.

Hair Police seem positively ugly after Crystal Fantasy’s rather relaxing journey; “Straps and Straps” is a throbbing ball of tightly wound energy, with plenty of mismatched pieces and sharp edges. Shuddering oscillations overpower static squeals, as sounds drown under sounds, and human screams are swallowed in the polluted mix. Very little sound escapes Hair Police’s brutal gauntlet; “Straps and Straps” is a mélange of minced mutations and mangled musical abrasions. If Crystal Fantasy take the listener on a magical journey to a far-away fantasy land, then Hair Police are the chauffeurs on a fall down a dark hole, with plenty of obstructions to batter the listener on the way. It’s hard to come out of the experience unscathed.

By Adam Strohm

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