PSYCHOPHILE - PRESS ARCHIVE
Psychophile were the sort of band the scene would have loved when people started babbling about cyber matters in the late 90's, but these days I think they'd appeal to anyone. In fact when you think how bands started trying to imagine themselves somehow equipped to turn to 'dance' elements in their work in the mid-90’s, which led to many a hamfisted synth debacle, it’s not surprising Psychophile get noticed for their quality.
... They're streets head of the UK 'competition', standing head and shoulders above the majority of UK Goth because of the songwriting strengths. You'll find real melodies, and real ambition here.
(Uncle Nemesis, Starvox)
Lucy throws herself into the performance with her usual gung-ho enthusiasm. She lets rip with that glorious voice, and instantly grabs the attention of the audience. Even the twin disadvantages of the opening slot and an emergency line-up can't disguise the fact that there's something special here. Psychophile have naggingly insistent songs, a trademark sound that collides layers of guitar with driving beats and electronix, and in Lucy they have a frontwoman extraordinaire. Within a few songs there's a squad of Psychophile fans dancing at the front - no mean feat at four o'clock in the afternoon!
... the band hit the accelerator again and turn in a damn fine show. Lucy's voice is, as ever, the focal point, swooping around the music like seagulls over Brighton pier, while Cliff thrashes and clangs and grinds all sorts of noises out of his guitar.
(Natasha Scharf, Meltdown)
The long-awaited Psychophile release on Wasp Factory is now here! Anyone who bought the band's two CD-Rs, Illumination and Psychophile, will recognise a handful of the tracks on here, whilst there are also a good percentage of brand new songs as well. Everything's been tweaked under the watchful eye of Wasp Factory's Lee Chaos - meaning the slickness that was missing from the band's previous releases has now been added. Even my favourite song, Intense, has been beefed up to become even bigger and more powerful than the epic it was on their first demo.
Lucy's powerful vocals are complimented by the moody programming and the unusual presence of guitars, which brings a touch of the 'Phile's early live shows to this album. Two tracks (Surplus and their cover of Ultra Vivid Scene's Mercy Seat) even feature former Chaos Engine bassist Vere Kervorkian.
If you haven't heard any Psychophile before, now is the chance to snap up this CD before they become the name on everyone's lips.
(Total Rock Radio)
The Brighton electro rock outfit release their debut album on Wasp Factory and what a corker it is! Lucy's powerful vocals stand out against a backdrop of electronica with electric guitars, particularly in the wonderful Intense - first heard on the band's original self-titled demo. The mysterious Vere Kervorkian, formerly of The Chaos Engine, contributes his dark and moody bass to a couple of the tracks on here, whilst extra Goth points are awarded to the 'phile's rather perky cover of Mercy Seat, originally done by Ultra Vivid Scene, and taken to a new dimension with Lucy's deep vocals. I recommend that you be the first to tell your friends about Psychophile and snap this one up immediately!
Here's a paradox. Psychophile have been around in various incarnations since the early 90s. The line-up has changed umpteen times, to the point where if you go to a Psychophile gig today, none of the people on stage are original members of the band. Over the years, Psychophile have released a bewildering number of cassettes, CD-Rs and suchlike self-produced material - and yet, this is their debut album. Or, at any rate, it's the band's debut release on a label, the first piece of Psychophile product that *isn't* the result of DIY efforts. It's possible, of course, to go a long way on the back of the DIY philosophy, but it's hard to build up the kind of critical mass of attention which a label can (hopefully) generate. Now that Psychophile are Wasp Factory recording artists, with a bit of luck and a following wind things could really take off for the band from this point.
The songs here will be familiar to anyone who might have encountered Psychophile's previous DIY releases, but these are fresh recordings which mash together founder-member (and current behind-the-scenes technology controller) Mat Hook's programming with all-new guitar and vocal parts from Smogo and Lucy Pointycat. The result is a powerful, immediate, sound, much of which has a no-messing one-take feel to it. In fact, this album is probably as close as you can get to having Psychophile play a gig in your living room...but without all the flailing hair extensions and spilt cider.
All Psychophile's in-another-universe hits are here: the sparkly pop gem that is 'Mirrors', the raucous romp of 'Invocation', the rock-versus-technology stand-off of 'Surplus', and, of course, the gleefully manic 100mph dash that is 'Darklight'. Of course, it's fairly common these days to find bands who mix programming and electronics with big bad rock guitar - the barrier between 'bleepy' music and, for want of a better expression, 'guitary' music was always rather artificial, and for many musicians never existed in the first place. To that extent, what Psychophile do sits bang in the middle of the modern music continuum. But, of course, nobody does it quite like Psychophile.
The band's full-speed-ahead-and-damn-the-torpedoes approach is faithfully captured here, with the guitar fizzing and roaring, the technology pumping, and Lucy letting rip like someone's promised her a bonus if she can bend the needles on the VU meters. The vocals are perhaps the most 'one take' element of the sound - it really does sound as if Lucy has simply stepped up to the mic and done it. Frequently, you can even hear her quickly grabbing a breath before pitching into every line, something I suspect would have been produced out of the final mix if the intention was to polish everything smooth.
Having said all that, it's perhaps a little contrary of me to note that one of my favourite moments on the album is 'Horrorshow', which is an instrumental, and only a brief one at that. But it's a very neat little vignette; pulses and glitches wrapping themselves around some spooky atmospheres. And then there's Psychophile's version of 'Mercy Seat' - not the Nick Cave song, the Ultra Vivid Scene number of that name. In Psychophile's hands it becomes a dirty epic, a cross between Underworld and Macy Gray. And there are two comparisons I bet Psychophile never expected to get!
Brighton outfit Psychophile blend the rock and electro beautifully with darkwave on their first proper album, Transition. Lucy's powerful vocals darken the already sinister programming while the chunky electric guitars add a fuel-injected punch to what would ultimately be electro pop. The outcome is a creepy but catchy blend of dark electro rock. As with many of the bands on the Wasp Factory roster, members from the WF clan have lent a helping hand with this album. Listen very carefully and you'll hear the Chaos Engine's former bassist Vere Kervorkian grinding away on two tracks, the whole thing's been mixed by Lee H, while Freudstein's David Else has mastered the album. If ever there were a quality stamp for underground music, this album bears it!
Psychophile are veterans of the UK underground darkwave scene. This, their first full album on Wasp Factory, has been years in the making but well worth the wait! Pounding rhythm guitars interlaced with industrial dance keyboards, overlayed with Lucy Pointycat's mesmerizing female vocals make this a stunning listen, reminiscent of Delerium, Collide & Swarf!
It's difficult knowing where to place Psychophile. Such a broad cross-section of musical styles can make a reviewer's job a complete nightmare, but can be very pleasing for the listening audience.
And that's what we have on offer here – styles such as Goth, Rock and EBM all merging to create a distinct sound that is fairly easy to get into.
Dominant and forceful female vocals lead the music along nicely - you can’t help but listen to what's being sung here. I'm immediately reminded of Alison Moyet (of Yazoo fame, or am I showing my age here?), such is the passion, richness and determination behind the singing.
As for the tunes that accompany this singing, it shifts from synth-driven and electronic bass-beat rich tracks, to goth-rock laden numbers with no real effort at all. Heck, sometimes this change occurs mid track, and the change is not even noticeable. Kudos to the band for that then!
There's the occasional sample to lend more to the EBM feel of the album, but these are thankfully few and far between.
My only criticism of this release would be the vocal scales the singing tries to reach – at the middle and lower ranges the singing is fine. However, as the higher notes are aimed for, the harmony is stretched just a little too far to make it comfortable. I'd avoid this or future releases as this just does not work well, and has you reaching for the 'skip' button as the hairs on the back of your neck rise.
As already mentioned, the music is accessible, and the tunes easy to get into – 'Darklight' is a prime example of this, the electronic loops mixing with electronic rhythm guitars well. Overall, this is a good release. Given a bit more polishing on the sound front and vocals, this could be a great release. Here's looking forward to the next offering from Psychophile!
The Wasp Factory Recordings label really bribes you with strange bands. After DeathBoy, the English band Psychophile is yet another one whose sound is hard to describe. Short band history: in 1992 the first demo Spiderstyle was released, which was then followed by three more. However, their official debut CD was not released until now in 2003. The press release describes the music of this trio (plus The Mog, their talking cardboard cat) surrounding eccentric singer Lucy Pointycat as dark psychopop, which really says nothing or everything.
Eventually, I have decided not to file this album under 'metal' although there are some rather heavy guitar bits on it. These guitars are however blended in with the keyboards and the expressive vocals. Lucy's voice is varied: from slightly gravelly Siouxie style vocals to opera-like singing, everything is included - with the ratio being about 70:30. Techno beats and 80s keyboards are added on top which gives the whole thing a darkwave feel. Every now and then one is reminded of a gothic version of The Prodigy ('Invocation'), and then also Nightwish as an electro band ('Illumination'). Most of it is driving and danceworthy but celestial moments are also represented on this album.
I know that my description of this album will not be true to what their music is really like, and people interested in this album should listen to it for themselves. I really like Transition since this is something that sounds new and has technical perfection. If you like a charged environment of guitars and synths, Transition will give you an enjoyable and interesting musical adventure.