Review: Deine Lakaien – Crystal Palace

Starting 2015 with a review of an album from 2014 is always a good way to walk backwards. But it’s worth having a look back if it’s to highlight one of the prettiest albums that the Goth/Alternative scene has provided us within the 365-day time frame that ended a couple of weeks ago: Deine Lakaien released Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace is a bit like magic. The magic of a nocturnal walk along a dirt track, in a fantasy place that doesn’t exist. The soft magic of travelling by night, walking, lonely and peaceful, through mind and dreams. It’s like a picture box, each cliché, each song opening to a brand new universe, a brand new reverie, a “Gallery of portraits”: the star and the sun, the dungeon of isolation (“Nevermore”) and the crystal palaces are as many dreamy visions filling up the fantasy universe of this wonder box of an album.

The journey goes on, turning into a “Ride”, preferably on the most amazing, unreal mount. “The Ride” is a running song, fast and mystical. A song to run through the sky and the stars. The star, we are reaching them “Where the Winds Don’t Blow”. The ride just gets higher, and we feel like jumping from light to light in the smoothest dark night.

Yet along the way through the prettiest fantasies, while the night and the magic cradles us, the reason behind the darkness uncovers slowly.

We understand that this journey is also the lonely search that has made the wanderer a little bit paranoid “Why is the sun making fun of me”, “Something steady follows me”. “Why the Stars” is a paranoid, bipolar song, swinging between mood changes as surprising as they are breathtaking, as floating black and white memories return to the surface, populating the sick-worried mind. It is the sudden awareness of the outside “Why is the sky and their eyes”, “Why is the sun making fun of me”, a burst of violence and fear.

The quest is restless as much as fantastic, filled up with questioning and concerns, worry and misunderstanding. Misunderstanding of how the outside world works, fear of unknown, of not finding one’s place, fear of being left behind in the dark.
Even the album cover pushes this feeling further, displaying an insect caged in a crystal cube, a “Crystal palace”, making us feel uneasy for even looking, like indelicate and insensitive passersby with voyeur tendencies looking down on someone struggle.

and the winds they don’t blow, where no bird will ever fly…

It’s uneasy, awkward and melancholic, as much as it is medieval and nocturnal, and when it’s reaching light at last, as beautiful as ever, it is so through a purified, minimalist modernity. Deine Lakaien has once more crafted a fantastic album, sewed with threads of magic, the lights of stars, and the melancholy of ages old stories.

Forever and a Day
The Ride
Where the Winds don’t Blow
Crystal Palace
Why the Stars
The Lights of our Street
Those Hills
Eternal Sun

Review by Marie Lando.