After busking on the streets of Glasgow for the past six years and creating music as part of an acoustic duo, singer Anna Shields has formed CRYSTAL, whose debut EP, Youth, makes a big impact for a band not well known on the scene.

The EP gets off to a strong start with ‘Whisper’ and immediately showcases Shields’ impressive vocals, which are incredibly smooth and way more sophisticated than you’d expect from a 20-year-old.

There’s a confident swagger on ‘Devil’ and the track his a more bluesy influence than the others, especially with Dougie Scott’s repetitive bassline throughout, and the whining guitars add an edge to the track that contrasts wonderfully with the soul in Sheilds’ voice.

‘Style’ makes singing “so why don’t you go fuck yourself?” actually sound really nice and the grungey feel to the verses adds yet another influence into the mix.

The chorus of ‘Baby’ will most likely get stuck in your head, and highlights the surprising quality of production, considering the EP was recorded in Blair Crichton’s bedroom.

It doesn’t have that fuzzy sound that so many home-recorded debuts do and actually sounds really polished.

‘Youth’ is slightly darker, it would be great to hear more of that side of the band as it suits them well, and is another example of how each member’s differing tastes blend to create a unique sound – from Shield’s Bikini Kill-inspired lyrics to Crichton’s love of Queens of the Stone Age.

Words: Shannon McGarrity


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