As I write this, millions of Americans are deciding the fate of the nation. By the time this article comes out, the 2016 presidential election will be over (barring any Florida-circa-2000 screw-ups) and the U.S. will have a new commander-in-chief.
I don’t know about you but there’s a certain feeling of helplessness in all this -- a creeping anxiety setting in when thinking about what may very well be reality on Nov. 9. Our collective future could be historically bright, or apocalyptically dark depending on what side of the coin you’re on.
But right on cue, as if the universe sensed my growing apprehension (as it miraculously tends to do), new music comes along and my frayed nerves get talked down from the ledge: This time, the new Psychic Twin album “Strange Diary" arrived just in time to help. [Listen/buy it here]
While I try to keep an open mind when it comes to listening to new music, like most of you, there are times when I only want to hear a specific type of sound -- and when “Heart Divided,” the spacious opening track of “Strange Diary” began, it was like the heavens had parted and an ocean of absolute tranquility washed over me.
That’s by design: Psychic Twin, the moniker for one Erin Fein, makes music meant to appeal to those that love dreamlike, gauzy pop anchored by buoyant electro beats, searing synthesizers, fragmented samples and her perfect, atmospheric vocals (i.e. fans of FKA Twigs, James Blake and Grimes won’t be disappointed).
The new album (released on Sept. 9 via Polyvinyl) is a musical patchwork quilt of soothing electronica, instantly memorable melodies and confessional lyricism rooted in regret, longing and renewal: At its core, “Strange Diary” is a digital body with a very human heart -- the songs’ subject matter is a poignant glimpse into Fein’s recent divorce and its aftermath.
“I don’t know if I should admit this, but when I listen to my record, it makes me cry,” the singer/composer told Bandcamp earlier this year. “It’s hard for me to listen to it.”
On a track like “Unlock Yr Heart” when she repeats “We can work it out / Work it out, baby / Baby, we can work it out” over and over as if it were some kind of relationship-saving mantra, it doesn’t necessarily come off as hopeless sentiment -- especially when you know the lyrics' backstory -- but rather a reminder that all is not lost, even when it seems like it is.
Today, and maybe tomorrow too, it's exactly what I need to hear.