The oncoming end of 2003 approaches, and just before the close of the gates we find Canadas ArtOfFact Records pushing out the latest installment of work by staple new-wave and synthpop act, Psyche. Psyche have become a modern DJs dream for their slick and clean dance floor tracks that stays just to the left side of surreal and grooves well and hard without slipping into the techno-drivel of most of todays club fodder.
Prior to Babylon Deluxe, Darrin Huss and Remi Szyszka have made their name with Misguided Angels(1), the Sanctuary(2) EP and the previous Hiding Places(3) CD. Their latest retains to Psyches smooth-edged synthpop, rather than straying into other sounds and territory like many bands do by their third full length release. Psyche stay true to their fans and continue to produce finely wrought new wave for the modern kiddies to enjoy and the old crusty goths to recall the old days of music.
A great new-wave opening, The Quickening isn't the best synth song to hit the streets, but it's surely among them. Psyche from the start are showing they are remaining with their successful sound as they have in the past and honing it to higher levels. Vocals on The Quickening flatten against each other at times, adding a nervous twist to the song regardless of its bright and clear surrounding synthetic melodies. If Sex Dwarf from Misguided Angels is any indication, Psyche likes to stick their grinding, sexual tracks somewhere on most of their CDs. On Babylon Deluxe, it's X-Rated a sliding, grinding overture celebrating Internet porn.
Compellingly weird, the soundage of Sacrament comes together to form an extremely interesting composition. For the techno fans you'll hear the scraping bass lines, for the new wave fans you have your synth pop melodies intertwined, for the gothic fans Darrin Huss' vocals are smooth, dark and twisted. All of these facets come together to form a very satisfying song that threatens to take off in any of many possible directions.
Becoming decidedly futuristic with Nobody Superstar, I can easily see this track as being a headliner in a popular science fiction feature some day something with the vibe and feel of Fifth Element, for example. Equinoxe slows it down with one of Psyche's morbid sounding ballads; a slow tempo and rhythmic clicks surrounding the overall composition. Pleasant and slow chord progressions turn this song into a possibly well-founded trance floor song. Final Destination picks up the pace, but also includes a sweet, lovely piano melody that splits the song nicely between stompy trance-like portions.
Stormtrooper combines elements of dark gothic with drum n bass stylings. Fortunately for me (unfortunately for some, Im sure) there is no mention of Darth Vader throughout the piece. Instead it is a story of being alone or rather, wanting to be. Possibly a follow up to The Hiding Place from their previous album.
Psyche stay consistently within the genre they have joined when I first found them a few years back. And their music is still as good as it was then, possibly a little bit better. But the final say on Psyches Babylon Deluxe is simple yet effective its as good as the synthpop and new wave music weve listened to before, only it comes to us today.
Post: ArtOfFact Records, 1057 Steeles Ave. W., P.O. Box 81630, Toronto, Ontario, M2R 3X1, Canada
Phone: (416) 663-9655
(1) Reviewed in Legends
(2) Reviewed in Legends #116.
(3) Reviewed in Legends #119.