People think that Angus and Julia Stone are cute but they’re wrong. There’s a difference between pretty, delicate and rustic and Crystal Fighters. The latter, I would suggest, are the true meaning of cute. The way Sebastian Pringle and Laure Stockley and Mimi Borrelli’s vocals weave between each other, never quite kissing as Oliver and Romy xx’s inevitably do (too geared towards the same minimalistic nonchalance to ever faithfully establish a real sense of tension), is fantastic. Pringle has got just the right amount of measured tonal apathy and Stockley and Borrelli the perfect antidote in their whimsical harmonies to make your rapidly forget wherever you are and get transported to whatever Basque-influenced, folktronic island the London five-piece has decided to depict. The compulsive beat behind 2010′s breakout single ‘Follow Me‘ didn’t give us adequate time to take in the cuteness of the enterprise. The sun-kissed, ephemeral ditty ‘Plage‘ did a better job at demonstrating the band’s escapist quality.
But being cute only has relevance for so long. Once you’ve picked up the puppy that is Crystal Fighters, played around with their 2010 debut ‘Star Of Love’ and exhausted the funny quirks and droopy ears of tracks like ‘‘, the whimsy wears off, the unexpected becomes slightly more predictable and the cuteness fades. Feed Me, a Hertfordshire, UK drum and bass/dubstep/EDM/Deadmau5-kinda-sounding-guy, has stepped in at a rather opportune moment. Where Crystal Fighters’ efforts at involving electronic elements into their otherwise enigmatic, beachy tracks works well enough across ‘Star Of Love’, it begins to strain when taken to a too abstract extension. As long as the synths match, there or thereabouts, the guitars and the warm vocals, the thing is under control. It’s when Crystal Fighters forget their Basque roots and remember instead more gritty, London pasts that things can get messy. Hybrids are beautiful but all elements aren’t always executed to the same effect.
The idea of outsourcing heavier electronic production duties to a guy like Feed Me, who’s cut his teeth on remixes for Two Door Cinema Club, Nero and Gorillaz among others, was a good one. From these very remixing duties, Feed Me has learned to live with and enhance cross-genre disparities and as a result, ‘Love Is All I Got’ sounds like the Crystal Fighters record Crystal Fighters would release if they were good at the synth side of things as they were the songwriting side. The opening set piece, pure piano and lyrical trickery with the key refrain is evidence of the Fighters’ well-honed ability to craft a simple, effective folk-pop track. When Feed Me’s beat comes in about 30″ in, elemental and sort of tinny, I was a bit concerned, but, as opposed to many (read: most) hybrid meetings, this one takes time blossoming. There is no switch between Crystal Fighters and Feed Me time. Instead, the two work hand in hand to produce a track which, with Daft Punk/Madeon-esque funkier leanings in parts, actually does justice to the talent of each of the artists involved. While it might not be cute, per se, it is still a characteristically warm track. Call it cute 2.0.
Feed Me & Crystal Fighters – Love Is All I Got