Gull Jams Album Reviews: “Strange Diary” by Psychic Twin

By Drew Lacouture

Staff Writer

With the sub-genre of synth-pop becoming saturated and watered down, Psychic Twin bursts onto the scene with a bittersweet and lavish debut project. After several years of generating buzz, Erin Fein creates a balance of sugary choruses with just enough indie style to appeal to a wide audience.

Rather than bangers and big vocals, this group relies on subtle production to present a short but rewarding experience. Although, based on the intro “Heart Divided,” some listeners might instantly say dislike it because it sounds like every standard EDM album opener.

The staccato synth line in the next track “Strangers” instantly warms the ears for what is to come, and while the lyrics are repetitive, the line “That even when we build these mighty towers I know that we can take them down again,” will be stuck in heads for days.

The same can be said for most of the tracks here. Fein wrote this album amongst a break-up and it shows, but it is never too abrasive. The track that steals the show is “Hopeless” which resembles the style of the group Phantogram but better.  The killer outro “The Deepest Cut” evens dates back to New Order and it is fantastic.

All this is done without Fein and her musicians trying to sound edgy or indulgent (cough, cough, Halsey). As stated earlier, this album contains familiar sounds but the execution is so tightly performed and authentic that it almost feels like the listener is there in the studio.

Similar to artists in their soundscape like Pure Bathing Culture and Chairlift, it is clear that a significant amount of thought and care was put into developing the beats in these songs. Each small element of the song is pleasant and well placed, though it still has a couple of hiccups, especially towards the first half.

For example, “Running in the Dark” has the same bass line throughout the entire song. Adding a second measure of different notes after the first and then repeating two measures rather than one would have made for a more compelling instrumental.

This album is simple at its core with just nine tracks and thankfully it does not overstay its welcome. “Stop in Time” was exactly the length it needed to be but “Chase You,” as immersive as it is, might just be a little longwinded for some.

There will be some tracks that might breeze by like “Unlock Yr Heart,” which is why it is important to give the album multiple tries, not that it is heavy or complicated, just relaxing. Fein compliments this with her breathy singing, especially on the track called “Lose Myself.”

The dreamy world inside of Fein’s head might require multiple listens to really stick, but when it does, you will be playing it while cleaning the apartment or when you want something soothing to listen to after a bad day. This album is not perfect or innovative, but it accomplishes exactly what it is meant to.

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