Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Psykup - We Love You All (Season of Mist, 2008)


My high-school self is mondo stoked on the third album by Frenchie metal clowns Psykup. 'Roundabout my sixteenth birthday, maximalism was the only aesthetic I cared about. I worshipped Mr. Bungle, System of a Down and Naked City, bands that rejected genre boundaries and presented a free-form amoeba of styles and sensibilities, all delivered with a healthy dollop of absurdity. Psykup's got more death metal per minute than any of the aforementioned, and that's a good thing -- my post-college self wishes that Mr. Bungle would have calmed down and written more riffs like that awesome death metal section in "Carry Stress In the Jaw." Psykup shred hard and tight when they're not thickening tension with their manifold ambient sections. 

Psykup - "The Choice of Modern Men"

And yet We Love You All is more appealing as a study in the bizarre than as a metal album. Psykup envisions its songs as aural storyboards that might soundtrack Terry Gilliam or Tex Avery shorts. I'm not buying it. This stuff calls way too much attention to itself to play backup to anything. Refreshing as it is to hear songs freed of your standard ABA structures, the lengthy numbers on We Love You All are dictated more by a "what cool shit can we do here?" maxim than a "what would move this song forward?" maxim. It's an aesthetic that used to move me, when I held novelty above all else. No longer. I like contour and direction more than shock tactics. 

I've also got a personal favor to ask of Psykup's vocalists Ju and Milka: please, PLEASE reconsider your Mike Patton obsession. That nasal lothario shtick was getting old even before Faith No More broke up. You're both fine singers and even better vocal arrangers, and I bet that line "I wouldn't piss on you / If you were on fire" wouldn't force me to laugh embarrassingly if I could imagine you singing it instead of Patton -- just listen to Coinmonster for proof that you can sound like him without sounding like him. Throw me a bone here. Or a time machine. Oh, to be sixteen again. I'm so goddamn jaded. 

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