By its very nature, dream pop does not grab every ounce of your attention. It’s sort of the atmospheric black metal of the indie world in that it’s about the musical journey more than the destination. New LA-based act Crystales embody this essence quite well with their shimmering, sultry self-titled debut. Taking a sound that is equal parts Best Coast’s haze, Real Estate’s surf pop jangle, and a bit of a Spanish flair, visions of beach-side gatherings at dusk that lead to an impromptu house party immediately come to mind. There’s a surprising undercurrent of darkness that bubbles over the surface (“Seance” and the Lovecraftian “Shoggoth” come to mind), like the frustrating realization that you’re still partying into your 30s.
What helps Crystales jump over the hurdle of standard fare dream pop is the slight tweaks each track takes along the way. While the level of sound rarely varies (this is a shoegaze record, after all), the intensity and subtle shifts in focus keep things quite interesting along the way. Crystales never lets up on the drive to create mood, so whether you care to pay attention or drift along to the sounds of The Beach Boys on Xanax, you’re in good hands with this solid debut.