Sep 02, 2016 Web Exclusive
There was an advertising slogan in Britain in the 1990s for an alcoholic drink: "good things come to those who wait." In this millennium we are told time and again that the world goes too fast, that society lacks patience these days. Strange Diary, the debut album from Psychic Twin, aka former Headlights vocalist Erin Fein, belies the latter notion—four years in the making, it shows that some people still reap the rewards of the old Guinness maxim.
Strange Diary began life in the aftermath of Fein's marriage falling apart and, viewed in that light, it is a glorious optimistic album. Sonically it is effervescent, with a warm '80s synth-pop sound that falls somewhere between Kate Bush and every modern indie band that has tried to make a record that sounds like Hounds of Love. "Running in the Dark," for example, is driven by a pulsing rhythm section and augmented with pretty keyboards. Yet these hide the singer's uncertainty: "In the night you're always on my mind/I try to undo what I've done" she admits.
It is telling, too, that throughout the album Fein refers to an anonymous "you" while the song titles betray a sense of regret: "Strangers," "Chase You," "Heart Divided," and "Hopeless (I won't take part of you)." The last of these though, with its seasick waves of keys, sounds anything but.
Strange Diary is a striking both for the directness with which it addresses its subject matter and the unwaveringly enjoyable, gorgeous music that cushions it. It is no surprise that this album took four years to make—only that it is Psychic Twin's debut. You'll do well to hear one better this year. (www.psychictwin.bandcamp.com)
Author rating: 8.5/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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