by Brandon Carson

Guerilla Toss is no stranger to new-wave and art pop, but on ‘Twisted Crystal’, they expand their sound on all fronts with surf rock sounds, chopped up, vaporizing synths, and drum machines that make up a truly unique production. All the members bring something new to the table in each song with entertaining performances that feel fresh and exciting. In only half an hour, Guerilla Toss takes you on an adventure through space and time.

An out of this world production

One of the best aspects of the album is the production; every song on the album has many layers of synths that build a wall of sound. The synths feel like the last pieces of a puzzle that make a complex picture. ‘Magic Is Easy’, the album’s opener, grooves with fat heavy synths paving the way for singer Kassie Carlson’s voice to flow easily.

The production of ‘Twisted Crystal’ is so diverse and eclectic that not one song sounds like the other. ‘Meteorological’, the lead single from the album, uses an analog synth during the chorus that gets louder and louder as the song continues. The drum beat for this song is funky and creates a different tone than the rest of the songs. ‘Hacking Machine’ starts off with weird guitar leads and random synth sounds that perfectly flows into a fuzzy, satisfying build up.

A highlight on the album for me would be the song, ‘Come Up with Me’. This song is not only the catchiest on the record, it also offers many fun sounds to the mix. ‘80s synthesizers move across the song like free spirits. The guitar solo near the end of the song makes me feel like I’m going through a transporter in space and I absolutely adore every second of it.

Tremendous performances with great passion

Producer Peter Negroponte is also the drummer for Guerilla Toss. This works as an advantage for the band. When bands self-produce their albums, they usually have a lot of creative freedom; and on this album, creativity is the highlight. Each note, sound and melody feels precisely placed to make each song what it is. The drum beats on this album are very fun, whether they are on a real drum kit or a drum machine (yes, there are both). The guitars give off a vast pallet of color with blissful leads, fuzzy passages and some fun riffs. Carlson provides intricate, yet catchy melodies that sway and groove. Not only does she sing, she speaks in some songs, as she has done with past albums. The bass guitar shines on ‘Jackie’s Daughter’ and pairs well with the arcade-like synths. These performances make the album stand out on its own and bring a lot of color to the sound as a whole.

Truly unique

While there are many bands who make underground indie rock, few make their music with the same sound and passion that Guerilla Toss brings. This album is unlike anything the band has done is the past. Their past albums had more of a new wave feel that felt more fun and care-free. This album had an unearthly quality, setting it apart from other fantastic albums to come out this year. The best way to describe the album would be to use lyrics from ‘Green Apple’, the last song on the album: “Did you really see?/Do you really think that?/What do you believe?”

Top Tracks:

Jesus Rabbit

Hacking Machine

Come Up with Me

Recommended if you like:

Ariel Pink

Talking Heads

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard


Featured image from Bandcamp

Twisted Crystal

8.7 Amazing

‘Twisted Crystal’ finds Guerilla Toss at their most experimental yet also at their most interesting. They create a truly unique album where every song is worth listening to. Every song can offer something different to people who like different genres of music. Guerilla Toss leaves the listener with a sense of wonder and discovery.

  • Production 9
  • Performances 9
  • Experience 8

Brandon Carson is a Journalism Major. He reviews music for Byte and also makes his own music on the side.

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