REVIEW: Pseudocipher - Demo

By JohnnyB

Chain Border

1. Frozen
2. Doubt
3. Nothing's Sacred
4. Rupert's Star

PseudoCypher is a band hailing from Orange County, California, playing what they brand as "Trenchant Electronic" music. We got a promotional disk containing four cuts from their up-coming album Fragments of Empathy.

Perhaps it's aptly named. The first cut, Frozen, starts off with a nice electronic riff reminiscent of some of the earlier Yes works, and then promptly falls apart with lyrics that pretentiously try to be sophisticated, sung in an annoyingly-pitched dissonant voice. It cleans up a bit later on, but not much.

Doubt is probably the best of the four. The sound is more electronic, the lyrics tell an interesting story (with a little bit more of the angst you'd expect from a Goth song), but again they chop it up with drum licks that sound like they were given up on in mid-beat. Rhonda Amber adds a powerful voice to it, but they're just too breathy in spots, and overall the song (even though the story is told) seems like there should be more to it, and leaves you vaguely unsatisfied.

If Doubt is the best of the four, the third song, Nothing's Sacred, is by far the most disappointing. An intro of well-syncopated drums and vocals sets the stage for, well, disappointment. What follows sounds like that awful third band they hired at the last minute to play at the local high school's "Battle of the Bands." The lyrics are pap, the voice tries to be powerful but loses steam, and again the song ends too abruptly.

Rupert's Star does a wonderful job of showcasing Rhonda Amber's rather pretty voice, but it sounds like the "spotlight dance" song the king and the queen of the prom danced to. It was so sickly-sweet I would have gagged, if it didn't put me to sleep first. To make matters worse, they throw an awful disco-like beat in at the very end, and layer her voice over it, but the two beats don't match well and it ends up being simply grating. She's managed to get rid of most of the breathiness, and she really does do a creditable job singing.

I could only describe the album as "sophomoric." There are hints of real talent there, bits of good musical composition, some vocal triumphs, but they're too few and far between, and in the final judgment the album comes across as a not-so-promising disjointed effort that lacks maturity and direction.

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