Europe’s “folktronica” band, Crystal Fighters, is just searching for a little truth


by Matt Caprioli

Let no one say Crystal Fighters don’t work their asses off. May 27 is the day the British-Spanish band’s sold-out European tour ends and the day its sophomore album, Cave Rave, is released worldwide.

One of the founders of the band, Gilbert Vierich (piano, guitar, producer), said the main goal of the album was to move away from the haphazard flow of their debut, Star of Love, and toward to a more cohesive sound throughout the record. For Cave Rave, the six-piece group focused on creating, “a continual flow—a firm identity, a sound across the album…something grander and more united behind it, with songs and lyrics following,” Vierich said.

The band is responsive to fans’ and critics’ opinions. When they hear that their live performances are spectacular, they continue doing what they were doing. When they hear that their debut is fun but “confused” – “Naff” even – they narrow things down for the second take. While Star of Love was produced by themselves, this time they sought some extra guidance and traveled to LA to work with Paramore producer, Justin Meldal Johnson.  Ultimately, Cave Rave maintains the energetic pulse of their first album with fewer tangents.

Crystal Fighters traveled to Basque, Spain, their “spiritual home,” where they wrote the entire album in two months. It’s the combination of using Basque instruments like the Txalaparta with synthesizers that gets them labeled as “folktronica.” Vierich thinks the label is only accurate to a degree.

“I would call it more ‘folktronica-festival-party-global-wonk-wonk,’” he said.

When it comes to theme, Vierich said the band was, “looking back in time before Basque culture, how that ancient man would have thought of (contemporary) issues.” Cave Rave has many themes, but the most salient are, “being in love, being all together on the same journey, but mainly love, really.”

The intentions are apparent in the first song “Wave” with lyrics like “We’re flying on a wave babe/ We’re on the same wave/ We’re on a wave babe….”

Vierich said the band was “searching for true reasons of being.” Intellectual inquiry doesn’t seem like a huge concern in their lyrics, with the exception of “Separator.” The Crystal Fighters are more party conductors than philosophers. And songs like “Are We One” and “You and I” will help cement The Crystal Fighters reputation as a festival favorite.