Everyone loves channeling the 80s in electronica nowadays. There's something in that warm nostalgia that really brings something out of its listener. However, there's a fine line between a sweet nostalgia and just boring and unoriginal. That's the trap Psychic Twin falls into on their debut record, which beams with hope but doesn't amount to much.
The duo currently consists of vocalist Erin Fein and drummer Rosana Caban, a strong pair, but this lineup wasn't achieved without lots of error. Their debut Strange Diary was a long work in progress - written when Fein was in the process of divorce. Written on the group's Facebook page is an introduction of sorts to the record, which states: "In dreams, we rarely know what we are running from or toward. We only know we must keep running, continue searching... Strange Diary lives in that state of surreal urgency. What’s in front of us or behind us can’t be described, but we are sure in our bones that what we are searching for exists just a few steps away. "
Fein reprimands - and sometimes begs for - an anonymous "you" in plenty of songs, and while it's not certain who it's about, it seems to point in the direction of a lover whom she was with or desires to find. This is most evident in 'Strangers', a song released in 2013 as a single that has found its home at the beginning of the record.
There's a surreal urgency, as they put it, in this album, and it's clearest in that song, with the spiraling synth arpeggios providing a pulsating flow. It's lyrics croon to the mysterious "you", the chorus explaining, "I know the way that I lie awake for hours / And you don't even know the night is all I have / But even when we build these mighty towers / I know that we can take them down again." "You" is the force that's keeping her up.
The sad thing is, this album essentially lives off of that sentiment. There's not much to discuss as far as song meanings go - it's all just the standard songs of love and desire, without any memorable lines or melodies to justify them. The middle chunk of the record is boring as a whole, from the wobbly synths of 'Stop In Time' to the lackluster 'Hopeless', there really isn't much to stick around for. It's a collection of dream pop songs with occasional sweet synths but no punches.
Psychic Twin seems to have been driven too much by their heartbreak to be focussed on anything else but that. Breakup albums are always good, but those have some emotional punch to them. Strange Diary is very monotonous and overall just boring. There's not much more to say about it. If you like minimal dream pop above love songs with lo-fi vocals, this'll be a great album for you. If you're looking for something unique and memorable, you may want to keep searching.
Favorite Track: Strangers
Least Favorite Tracks: Unlock Yr Heart, Stop In Time Hopeless, Stop In Time
Rating: 57 / 100