Canadian electro-industrial upstarts Psykkle return with their sophomore album and a taste for conceptual songwriting. The band's début 'Rock Bottom Paradise' was a solid exercise in crafting intelligent, dance-orientated electro that quite rightly gained them the right kind of attention from fans and critics. And last year's maxi single 'In The City Of Nodes' provided an tantalising teaser for the forthcoming album, showcasing a band that had grown a lot in a short amount of time.
Musically Psykkle pick up where they left off, blending edm, trip hop, dark electro, hard dance beats and distorted vocals into a spacey, cyberpunky, audio dystopia. The band reels off big dancefloor numbers and hauntingly effective soundscapes with equal relish.
The key difference is the tangible sense of narrative this album displays. The conceptual nature of the album gives it an almost soundtrack-like feel with the tension slowly building throughout the track list. The overarching cyberpunk atmosphere this creates is a nice change of pace for the band while songs like 'In The City Of Nodes', 'For Dead Dreamers', 'Breathing In', 'Dreamscapes From The Hive Mind', and 'Tetsuo' show that they can both push themselves creatively and remain dance-friendly.
The only problem is that it does feel a bit sprawling. Weighing in at fifteen tracks it is asking an awful lot from the casual listener. The songs are definitely strong enough to hold their own. But there is some fat that could have been trimmed to make it a more streamlined.
On the whole though, this is another great outing from what is still a hungry young project that goes to show that they can pull off their ambitions with ease. With only two albums to their name so far, but nonetheless showing an impressive rate of growth, the future is looking bright for Psykkle.