Alice Glass: Prey//IV review – songs of trauma and recovery | India

A your first solo album more than 15 years after the start of your career would be a delicate transition for any musician; it’s hard to imagine how difficult this must be for Alice Glass. In 2017, she alleged that Ethan Kath, the other half of Canadian electronic punk duo Crystal Castles, subjected her to years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, starting when she was 15. (Kath sued for libel; the case was dismissed.) The last words of Glass’ statement then were “I’m still recovering,” and the trauma casts a deep shadow on Prey/IV, four years of preparation. “You’re not worth believing,” she sings on Pinned Beneath Limbs scissoring and shaking. “Don’t talk to your friends / Don’t talk to your family.”

Produced by partner Jupiter Keyes, formerly of LA Health digital noise-rockers, the album has a thread of continuity with Glass’ musical past, but its heart-pounding beats, religious goth synths and spurts of racing techno create a warmer, deeper space, letting its soft tones emerge – once so often shrouded in hail of digital noise – speaking of self-loathing, pain and mutilation. There is also the energy of recovery. On The Hunted, the tables are turned, with predator becoming prey as Glass asserts “I’m stronger than you” over bright, booming drops of dubstep. “You’re a cliché / You screw it up,” she intones on Fair Game, mimicking Kath’s words. “Now,” she said, “I dance to it and laugh.”

The title of the album also contains a subtle claim to power under the obvious connotations of the word “prey” – Crystal Castles’ last album before Glass left was titled III; the first with her replacement, Edith Frances, was called I. With Prey/IV, Glass takes control of the sequence and narrative for herself.

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