Erin Fein, the mastermind behind Psychic Twin, describes her psychedelic synth pop debut, ‘Strange Diary,’ as the experience of waking up from a dream. The singer, songwriter, and composer could not be more right, having truly captured all of the raw emotion, the ethereal nature and, at times, discomfort of reentering the waking self.
Fein, formerly of Headlights fame, wrote and recorded the album across two states, over a four-year period in the wake of a failed marriage. Thematically, the album draws heavily on the feelings that come along with falling out of love. The track ‘Hopeless’ for instance is an admission that she and her lover are no longer partners and perhaps never were – “Hopelessly alone in my heart like I’ve always been from the start.”
Overall, the album is upbeat and hopeful, yet tinged with a certain darkness, like the soundtrack to the bittersweet ending of a sad love movie, or the cleaner version of an 80’s new wave classic.
While many of the songs start off with a simple looping drum track or synth riff, they often build into multitier soundscapes that can be overwhelming at times. This layering of tracks lets the tidal wave of sound build and wash over the listener, bringing them into Fein’s disorienting world and adding to the dreamlike nature of the album. Fein’s voice is extremely clear throughout the album, as are the synthesizer’s “pings,” which jump around playfully between channels. This clarity of sound helps the listener navigate the track without getting lost in what otherwise might be amorphous noise.
The experience of listening to the songs often involves shifting focus quickly from one isolatable loop to another, making it a somewhat different experience upon subsequent listening.
‘Strange Diary’ is a strong debut but the album does start to feel repetitive by the end of its half-hour runtime. Here’s hoping that the follow-up doesn’t take another four years … and a divorce.
‘Strange Diary’ is out now via Polyvinyl.
This Psychic Twin article was written by Justinas Staskevicius, a GIGsoup contributor