TheRecordLabel: Pop & Rock

Psychic for Radio > Standing Wave > Reviews

Psychic for Radio - Standing Wave

All of the ten self-penned compositions are of a high level, but I still have three personal highlights that stand out to the other pieces, like the opener On My Own, which has a nice groove and the Arabian sounding melody gets stuck inside your head for a long time. Once Begun is a very strong piano ballad and She Knows is a fine mellow track where Martin Orford plays the flute. In a way this piece sounds like a Jadis tune. Furthermore the album contains several outstanding guitar solos and great vocal performances that lifted the album to a high level. Psychic For Radio's debut is a surprisingly strong production containing songs of a high quality level ranging from prog rock to jazz-rock and from classical music to prog metal. The high level of musicianship and the vocal performances make sure that you'll enjoy this fine album. Therefore it's highly recommended.

So I'm finally getting a chance to listen to your Psychic for Radio and I am BLOWN AWAY. I mean, I knew you were a genius, but this is like truly brilliant music. I'm serious... I love that I can't predict the next movement, the next chord, note or downbeat. It defies my brain's desire to find predictability. I love it. I'm listening to it while I write content for my website too because it has that same effect as Baroque in that I think my brain's ability to think is literally expanded by the complexity of it. Seriously, I'm blown away and I'm not overstating it. I really think it's brilliant.

Interview with Shawn on the project.

My personal highlights on this album are the two instances where Shawn and his compatriots decide to give progressive metal. Euthymal with it's intense emotional lead vocals, crunchy and aggressive guitar riffs with a fragile, lighter toned guitar motif effectively utilized as an occasional contrast to a tune that is fuelled by intense emotions more than anything else. later on Blood (Into Wine) visits similar shores, but now with cinematic sequences, swirling keyboard additions and finely controlled vocals that appears to be on the verge of emotional outbursts as the nerve provider, a composition with an underlying ominous aggression that yearns for a release that never truly arrives. As such a nervous, vibrant tension makes this track work wonderfully, as long as you're interested in this kind of music. It's also one of the relatively few times where I've been tempted to use a word like sneer - in a positive manner - about the lead vocals of a song.

The album leads off with one of the three longer tracks, On My Own, and in the introductory notes, the first thing that comes through clearly is that this is well structured and accessible music. The vocals in this one, provided by O’Shaughnessy (a favorite of the Lady), are soulful and smooth, and fit the theme of the song well. It is a song that is easy on the ears, and sets up the listener well for the huge leaps across the progressive genres that the album takes from there, beginning with the heavy, distorted opening chords of the next song, Euthymal. This song cranks up the pace a bit, and contains within it a viscous guitar solo. The third song, Shed My Skin, takes on more classic prog sound, guitar and vocal driven. The album continues in this fashion from song to song, never committing to a single style or form, but openly celebrating all of them in a stellar fashion.

It probably isn’t a surprise that given the timeframe and the number of guests that this is more of a collection of songs than that of a distinct group identity, but for me this really isn’t an issue when the songs are as good as this. The first time I played this I picked up on “She Knows”, with delicate acoustic guitar, wonderful piano and flute (care of Martin Orford – time for another solo album Widge) that brings just right the feeling to the song. Todd Plant (Cryptic Vision) is the singer on this and he just nails it. In ways this is reminiscent of “Entangled” or “Mad Man Moon”, but it is more the atmosphere than the overall sound. Like all of the songs on the album this is extremely well produced (I would expect nothing else when Henning is involved), and the arrangement is both simple and complex. Peter Matuchniak nails a Hackett-style guitar solo which definitely adds to the ambience. I could play this one song all day, there is just something about it, but what about the rest of the album? ... So, this is a proggy, industrial, commercial album loaded with great songs, numerous hooks and stunning performances from different musicians and singers who all add to the whole. I can guarantee that the more you play it the more you will get from it.