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Written by  Kate Kotlyar

An homage to their childhood and to their love for the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area, The Crystal Casino Band will be releasing their sixth full-length album, Maryland House (named after their favorite rest stop along the I-95), on Jan. 27. The 13-song album, which was produced by Kyle Downes and Jay Nemeyer, takes its listeners on a trip of emotions and even through genres. 

The album begins with “Curfew,” which is a song from the perspective of someone in the DC area during the Jan. 6 Insurrection on the Capitol. This song highlights the struggles of witnessing a horrifying moment of history in a polarized America with lyrics implying someone scared to live in the US and with siren-like sounds echoing in the last minute of the song. “Curfew” feels like the perfect song to start the album with because it sends such a powerful message and has such a strong instrumental with a moving bass line and a driving percussion line. Next on the album is “twenty-something socialist,” and as an almost twenty-something, this song accurately encapsulates the frustration and anger that young people have today towards the capitalism-hungry billionaires. The next few songs on the album, “Jamie,” “Sorry Not Worried,” Boys & Girls” and “Until the Sun Comes Up” all sound like they could be indie-rock classics alongside the likes of The Strokes or Arctic Monkeys.

“Talking Stage” featuring indie rock band Divine Sweater definitely amazed me. It was an unexpected gem and a modern take on western folk music in the sea of indie music. This song felt like a breath of fresh air and added another layer of fascinating complexity to the already incredible album. Something notable about the next song, “City That Sleeps” was how staccato the vocal line sounded, accompanied by the slightly staccato repeating guitar and bass lines. This style of singing was different to the regular melodic and legato singing that we’ve heard from the rest of the album thus far and creates a really interesting contrast. “Wealth & Riches” and “Half Staff” are the songs that I think are the most interesting to listen to on the album because of the complexity of the instrumentals. Listening to them felt almost like an ethereal experience and they take you on an fascinating musical journey. “Antlers” I believe to be on the level of “Talking Stage” because of how I believe it transcends genres but has sprinklings western folk and country influences.

The final two songs on the album, “Quarter Life” and “Getting Closer” are phenomenal songs to end the album with because they help tie the album back together by depicting experiences and emotions related to childhood. “Getting Closer,” especially, is a perfect song to finish the album because the lyrics are slightly more hopeful about finding and not forgetting your inner child and joy and has a twinge of playful innocence by including whistling and a harmonica. However, the song ends slightly ominously, which I believe to be a circle back to the less hopeful and more realistic songs and tones of the beginning of the album.

Overall, I believe that Maryland House is an incredibly complex album yet worthy of your time and attention.  It will surely capture you from the very first spin and leave you wanting more when the needle finally lifts.  Mark my words, The Crystal Casino Band are on their way to becoming the next big indie-rock band and I'm looking forward to watching this band take off in the not-so-distant future!

- Kate Kotlyar


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