Review: Psy’Aviah – Eclectric

Of the spate of new releases in March the one we were most ambivalent about was the newest release from Belgium’s Psy’Aviah. We enjoyed their last album, 2007’s Creationism but it wasn’t exactly life-changing or even all that memorable. It was solid, perfunctory EMB/electroclash – enjoyable enough but nothing to distinguish them from a hundred other thematically similar bands out there. So while we were certainly interested in what they had on tap in 2010 it wasn’t the release that was getting us all tingly and sweaty.

So what a pleasant surprise to welcome a fresh new album full of keeper tunes, with smarter, more inspired song writing and a embrace of techno and even dance that livens the band up in such an unexpected and fun way.

One thing that was disappointing about Creationism was it’s too-laid-back-by-half tone where even up-tempo songs seemed muted. Problem solved here. On Eclectric (our favourite album title of the year so far) Psy’Aviah have ramped things up from beginning to end in an unrelenting, pulsating attack on the senses.This is a long album – 15 full-length songs not even counting the large number of original bonus material available on the CD, and the energy does lag here and there – it’s just too much material to keep one’s attention througout but it’s a minor quibble. The songs contained therein are a top notch collection. From the pulsing “Blackhole” to the heavier EBM-influenced “Something Evil” to the synthpop of stellar bonus track “Seduction” we are treated to a sampling from all over the electronic buffet. And as a package it works better than it should.

What’s nicest is getting to listen to a band retain that which made them what they were while adding on to it. There is no subtraction on Eclectric, everything here is addition. Stronger vocals, smarter, darker lyrics, better melodies. They have abandoned nothing, they’ve just improved on what was already working for them. So many bands could learn from this.

A nice touch is the guest performances which work though end up sounding more like the guest artist than Psy’Aviah. Ayria guests on a track that sounds exactly like an Ayria song. Front 242’s Jean-Luc de Mayer guests on a track that ends up sounding like Front 242. The guests are great additions but it doesn’t serve the band well to be a cypher. They have developed a strong identity and it’s one they should fight to retain.

Sure sometimes the dancefloor beats can get a little tiring and monotonous but the band do a good job up mixing things up so you don’t get lulled in an one direction. Overall the band have raised their game exponentially and delivered a rock-solid album that represents them at their very peak. It’s great stuff and it looks good on them. Suddenly they are hitting above their weight class – they’re among the big boys of the genre with this snappy release and a welcome addition they are.

Watch: Eclectric album trailer

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3 Responses to “Review: Psy’Aviah – Eclectric”

  1. Hello, I’m planning a post on my blog about some great synthpop websites and wanted to include softsynth. Do you an “About” page? Just thought I’d let you know anyway.

    Cheers,

    Jer / afront AT pansentient.com

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