Alice Glass PREY//IV Eating Glass Records
“I’m fading fast,” Alice Glass murmurs over a murky techno beat. Abrasive noise interrupts the rhythm repeatedly like an intrusive thought before tearing it apart completely. A primal scream, a wave of ambient serenity, a beat of near-silence followed by a prolonged exhale – or is it a breath of new life?
This is how Alice Glass’s long-awaited debut album begins. Since her departure from Crystal Castles in 2014, following years of abuse detailed in a statement in 2017, Glass has been rebuilding from ground zero, carving out a new artistic identity on her own terms. Part of this process has involved reckoning with the past, which has its fingerprints all over PREY//IV, including the name (Crystal Castles has continued to release music; IV would have been the title of their next album as a group).
Though Glass wears her trauma on her sleeve, the songs are deceptively catchy. THE HUNTED is an explosion of hyperpop and dark trap; BABY TEETH inverts glossy synthwave with sinister lyrics; and EVERYBODY ELSE utilises a traditional pop structure so effectively it almost sounds like goth Britney Spears. Beneath this veneer of accessibility, though, is utter devastation. Glass delivers lyrics like dripping poison (“Don’t talk to your friends, don’t talk to your family,” she coos on PINNED BENEATH LIMBS). Sunny melodies are clouded by piercing trance synths and industrial noise, while unsettlingly sweet vocals do battle with retaliatory guttural screams.
Pulling you in two directions at all times, PREY//IV is a party at the end of your wits, where the only option is to give in or overcome. In the end, endurance wins. Alice Glass reclaims what was always hers to begin with.