Psychic Teens - Come (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Psychic Teens

Come (2013)

SRA Records

Psychic Teens are simultaneously dangerous and vulnerable. Combining the sheer heaviness of metal, the unmeasured distortion of classic post-punk and the postured distance of ‘80s goth, the band take these disparate styles and seamlessly meld them into a cohesively ugly, captivating sound. That's no small feat, which makes Come that much more impressive.

The dour mood permeates through Come like a black cloud, whether the music is galloping and quick ("No," "Bug") or deliberate and heavy ("Lust," "Come"). It's interesting how Psychic Teens are able to maintain their message from a thematic and sonic standpoint, even while exploring different and disparate techniques. On "Lust" for example, the guitars and bass screech and howl for much of the song, creating uncomfortable, dangerous sounds, before devolving into straight riffs and even a somewhat melodic lead near the song's coda. "No" has the cadence of a DC post-hardcore ripper, but with a decidedly more obtuse disposition between vocalist Larry Ragone's deep, distant lyrics and shoegazed guitar tones.

Then there's the aforementioned title track. A classic slow-builder, its strengths lie in in the way Ragone's desperate soloing and Dave Cherasaro's drums coexist without ever seeming to be on the same page. Ragone sounds, as he often does, like he's singing on another planet, distant and sparse. This all builds into a loud climax in which ugly distortion is juxtaposed with Ragone's soloing to build, and then release, maximum tension.

Psychic Teens display an understated sense of melody, too: Both "Less" and "Bug" contain notes of anthemics, with the former even having would could be called a catchy chorus. When Ragone howls I Wish that I could take the blame/ Like you expected me to do" he sounds fractured and vulnerable, and ultimately, surprisingly relatable.

Ultimately, Come is a marked improvement on Psychic Teens' debut LP Teen, with songs that are louder, more memorable and just plain better. There's elements of metal, post-punk, shoegaze, sure, but this sound, now almost perfected, is more or less all their own. It's ugly and heavy and often ear-splitting, not to mention perpetually captivating. One of the best albums of the year so far.