Hailing from the United Kingdom, Psyence dishes their debut LP, a self-titled psychedelic space-pop trip through the stars. It’s the very popular single-coil, reverb-vocals, space-rock formula with a massive pop backbone that helps push the album into a radio-friendly format. For fans of Tame Impala, the Black Keys and the Arctic Monkeys, Psyence floats in the perfect coordinates in time and space to find a little of everything.
The album is super well produced and has a clear, clean, and crispy twang to it. Although the aesthetic of the album hints at a major psychedelic blackhole, the result is more like the Black Keys smoked marijuana once. “Cold Blooded Killer” is a smooth cruise with a groovy beat and nice backup vocals, but it lacks the teeth to really sink into you. It’s the first song of the album and you already feel like you’ve heard it before. It rocks and it rumbles and there’s a crunchy solo tucked in there as well. Although the space-cowboy vibe will forever be cool, I don’t think it was enough to carry this track.
“Black Hole” has a bit more of a retro 80s vibe to it. With the vocals coming off as very Billy Idol-esque at times and the verses boogie. The chorus however just seems like a standard “big hook explosion” that was written to try to be digestible and easy to sing. “Into the Unknown” also carries a cool Idol mojo to it and would be a killer track at a techno-space dance party. The band knows how to whip together a groove. For my trip, it was something about the vocal arrangements that didn’t keep up.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some songs that did pack a punch. “Dream Invader” has some vocals that just hop off the tongue with a keep up with a mean rhythm. The guitar solo on this track is just a sweet as any other on this album, definitely a strong point of this release. “Falling in Love” also goes on a cosmic rip at the end of the song with a super tasty solo section. Very blues and very spacey.
“A New Dawn” is a nice and hopeful end to the trip. Dialed back and jazzy, this track shows some colours we have not yet seen from Psyence. The guitar licks are ridiculously smooth and cascade over the liquid-like rhythm. The vocals match the mood perfectly and leave a very different vibe in the air than the rest of the album. It would be great to hear more of this tasteful trip from these guys. It’s a great way to end an album that was otherwise on the upbeat.
Written by Ben Cornel
*edited by Danielle Kenedy