REVIEW: Psyche - "Misguided Angels"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

Misguided AngelsSometimes when I receive a new submission for review, I know right off the bat whether or not I will be the one to delve into it in the pages of Legends personally. This is usually determined by how well I enjoy the release. If I find the music fits well with my tastes, and I enjoy it, then I am inspired to write about it thusly. Psyche is one of those releases - from initial listen I was grooving to the smooth flair of Psyche's work.

By far my favorite of the recent receipts, Psyche's blend of trance, EBM and synthpop/new-wave styles is mellow yet danceable. Groovy, well constructed and comforting while still rhythmically moving. Released by ArtOfFact Records on September 5, 2000, Darrin C. Huss and Per-Anders Kurenbach showcase their melodic talents on synthesizer and keyboards. I don't know what's up with the vampire closeup on the jacket, but if it helps these two to create this sound then so be it.

Misguided Angels is Psyche's first North American release in nearly a decade's time. Fans of the group's work from before will find tracks that were previously never released, some older tunes given a dose of newness and remixes by such electronic genre heavyweights Haujobb, Lights of Euphoria and D-Code. Highlight of the CD overall is the control that Psyche enacts over the loops, riffs and instrumentation. Nothing out of place, everything where it should be.

Of high note is track 2, Exhale, a wonderful straight synthpop tune with computeresque noodlings and floaty synthesizer undertones. Vocals are smooth but during chorus periods go into a powerful crooning. The song is mixed up with great synthetic guitar breakdowns and piano hits. Mixing elements of trance and house, Murder In Your Love (track 3) creates a dance floor classic with sombre vocals overlying a simple but mutating percussion track. Brother Suicide turns to a more EBM/industrial approach with mechanical surroundings and slightly voxed vocals, the occasional sample, but remains rather simplistic in make-up and form overall.

Track 5, Assassin, is a favorite of mine. It combines elements of trance and synthpop together with good results. Lyrically it's nothing spectacular, but I appreciate the low-brow groove of the track. Track 6 is the namesake of the album, and is a refreshing surprise after Assassin. Combining house style rhythms and beats with trancelike overtones and synth noodlings, meshing two distinct rhythm tracks together flawlessly - one carried by a bassline and the other a drum track. I adore the keyboard/synthesizer solo in Land of Broken Promises (track 7), but find it to be a bit too short. And we'll end the track reviews with Sex Dwarf. Industrial vox-touched vocals and silly synth melodies and keyboard bouncings combine to create quite an interesting sound. One of my favorites of the album.

Psyche's Misguided Angels is an excellent release, and a good show for the band on this side of the Atlantic. Thanks to Canada's ArtOfFact Records for picking them up, and I hope to hear more from this group in the future. Their brand of synthpop and electronic style keeps the old fans happy while infusing it with trance and modern EBM overtones, surely to make new and younger fans just as well off.

Contact Information:
Post: 1057 Steeles Ave. W., P.O. Box 81630, Toronto, ON, M2R 3X1, Canada
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