REVIEW: Psyche - "The Hiding Place"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

The Hiding PlaceNot long ago at all, you've read in Legends an interview with German (previously Canada) -based artists Psyche(1) that covers much of what the band has done, the different line-ups and forms that it took and in depth reviews of their Misguided Angels(2) and Sanctuary(3) releases. For that reason I'm not going to talk too much about the make-up, biography or history of the band in this review.

Not long after the Sanctuary EP, their Canada-based label ArtOfFact released the awaited full-length, The Hiding Place, in the latter days of 2001. The Hiding Place contains singles that we've heard on the Sanctuary EP, such as Sanctuary of course and Unbreakable.

The Hiding Place is similar to the previous Misguided Angels release - well crafted synthpop and EBM tunes with dance floor appeal, smooth keyboard layovers and mostly swift rhythms. You won't find much in the way of heavy stompy bass here as Psyche tend toward a more refined and even sound throughout. Renegade, for example, combines beautifully harmonized soft male vocals and wraps them up in synthesizer chords, hits and melodies.

There are two versions of the song Looking Glass here as well, the original synthpop tune and a trance remix that increases the track length by about a half minute and adds a groovier bass line. It also washes the vocals with a bit of floatiness and adds in melodic overtones that slide in and out with superbly flowing melodies - an excellent example of progressive trance. These are two completely different directions for the track, the differences between the two are apparent and while I do like the trance version the original Looking Glass is a definite highlight to The Hiding Place.

One Last Kiss slows down the swiftness of the other songs and injects a moodiness to the overall sound of The Hiding Place. Much slower this one, with squeaky melodies. This segues into the nominal track with a whispered opening; "What are you doing here? ... You're not supposed to be here ..." Psyche uses scratchier rhythms and synthesizer lines on The Hiding Place, but controls it mightily as they always do, and touch up the track with a lot more complication with multiple melodies going off at once and twining about one another.

My favorite from the whole album however has to go to Lost Innocence. With computeresque quirks harkening back to Kraftwerk electronics, a consistent thumping bassline and added toy piano melodies during chorus areas, Lost Innocence is an awesome track. The overall tune has a trance style about it with the way the melodies are washed in and out of the song, but the rhythm and bass keep it from floating away into true trance territory. Lost Innocence is sure to be an EBM classic for years to come. The Outsider 2001 is a standard fare synthpop tune, but for some reason it really sticks to you. I find myself singing it constantly, it's so catchy and infectious. I'm not sure why.

Whether or not Psyche continues to plough along the current synthpop path they've forged for themselves remains to be seen. It's a good path as Psyche are great at turning out this type of sound. Look forward to even more from this duo, around Spring 2002 with a new release currently tentatively titled Endangered Species. We'll all get to find out then.

(1) Legends #116, November 2001.
(2) Legends #112, July 2001.
(3) Legends #116, November 2001.

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