Review: Psy’Aviah – Introspection ~ Extrospection

We’ve been along for the ride with Belgium’s Psy’Aviah since the beginning, picking up their debut Creationism on a whim knowing nothing about this emerging duo but quickly becoming an enthusiastic convert. We were blown away by their last album, the awesomely-titled, Eclectric and it quickly became clear this was a band unafraid to experiment, to mess about with their formula, in the name of trying everything that occurred to them to try. It’s made for some hits (in the metaphoric sense, chart hits aren’t necessarily part of their menu) and some misses, but in the end one can’t help but respect their willingness to try pretty much anything in pursuit of an interesting idea.

On their newest album, Introspection ~ Extrospection, we find a lot of hits, a lot of misses, but always that experimental spirit that remains as exciting as ever. The way we usually review an album is to grab a few songs at a time which we spend some time with until we’ve really come to understand them, then add in a few more at a time so that each song gets its fair due (unless it’s a themed album that demands a more holistic listen). In this case it made for a rather bizarre, almost jarring experience. Our first song dump left us feeling like Psy’Aviah had hit a wall. Songs like “On My Own”, “SOS Overdose” and “Procedure to Mistrust” felt a little flat, a little dull, adding little to the Psy’Aviah legacy. So much so that we didn’t listen to the remainder of the album at all for a while. Sometimes better no review than a critical pan. But knowing Kari Berg had contributed a vocal we figured, let’s at least give “Deep Dark Desire” a quick listen and lo and behold it ended up being a bit of a revelatory moment. Berg, the former co-lead vocalist for Ashbury Heights has been, of late, really breaking out as a performer in her own right. A lovely woman with an even lovelier voice she adds a nice counterbalance to the musical side of this band on a track that celebrates the old school electronic dance song. This is the good shit, thought we, and we went back to the well to see what else Introspection ~ Extrospection had in reserve. Thank goodness we did because there were some real treats hidden in the larder.

This is very much a case of a band recording anything they felt moved to record, thematic consistency be damned. Sometimes this approach can be confusing and disastrous, other times – the latest album by Does it Offend You, Yeah? comes to mind – it shows a remarkable range and adaptability. Such is the case on this album as it turns out. “Virtual Gods” is an aggressive electroclash pounder; “OK” is a gorgeous Enigma-like ballad; “Nouveau Quiche” features hip hop stylings of MC Dééjoohcéé & Thomas C Beerten and what shouldn’t work is the album’s highlight; “Wired Life” is a pulsating dancefloor plodder, there appears to be no rhyme nor reason to the track selection but as a whole, it just works. It’s fun and thoughtful at the same time and the beats are consistently crackling. The care that went into the production side of things is evident and the crisp, clear sound of the thing is delightful.

Psy’Aviah are a more interesting, thoughtful band than even we ever gave them credit for. They display a creativity that could mean a genuinely long life for the band. If they keep it this varied, this compelling, this clever, more’s the better. And in future we’ll make sure to listen to the whole thing in one go…

Watch: OK


One Response to “Review: Psy’Aviah – Introspection ~ Extrospection”

  1. thanks for listening it though to the end. I know our albums are always very varied – which is indeed confusing.. But there’s an idea and concept behind it ;).. Thanks for the kind words, grtzz

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