Sunday, August 28, 2011
Psychic Limb- Queens
Ask me. Go ahead, you’ve read the post title. Just get it over with. Ask me, “Nigel, how exactly does a limb go about being psychic?”
My answer? I haven’t a fucking clue.
Okay, phantom limb I can handle. Psychic friend I think I’ve got covered. But Psychic Limb leaves me at a loss. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a cool thing to name a band, but beyond an arm that can tell the future or a leg that can read minds, I have no clue what practical definition the phrase could possibly have.
Lucky for the band, however, the sense or lack thereof involved in their chosen name has absolutely no discernable bearing on the music they make (the lack of track titles suggests that naming things in general is sort of an afterthought for the band, similar to a certain noisy Swedish favorite of mine.) Said music, I might add, happens to be really, really good.
Psychic Limb play grindcore with a thick hardcore punk accent that will appeal as much to Converge fans as it will those of Siege or Phobia. The record’s opening track offers a fair template for the other eleven, as a squalling wall of feedback is broken by a series of crisp snare taps that launch into a mildly angular, hyperspeed punk snarl of a song (Queens’ second-longest at 1:08, a good 10 seconds of which is consumed by feedback and guitar strums.)
The band’s superb grasp of dynamics and pacing mean that not every moment in the album’s 9 minute, 35 second run is at light speed, but neither does it boast the now-clichéd sophomoric sludge number. Songs like track 2 shift seamlessly from punky dirge breakdowns to frenetic blasting and back again, while keeping the momentum perfectly balanced. Track 9, the album’s longest track (only a second longer than the first track) allows the listener another rare moment of breathing room with its similarly slow opening, only to gallop forward soon after into full-on grind mode, aided by echo-y, megaphone-esque shouting vocals near its middle.
Of course, my favorite tracks on the album are the ones that straight-up blast, but even those songs are handled in a varied and creative manner. An excellent stop-start breakdown opens track 7, which stumbles its way into a viciously paced hate-fest rounded out by a truly violent vocal performance, with the whole thing ending before you have time to catch your breath. Track 11 gallops forward on a circular opening riff, launches into full-out blast mode, downshifts into a finger-pointing mid-paced lope and then rides a bass break into a pit-inducing breakdown peppered with Converge-eque angular riffage that closes the track.
I’ve been struggling to find fault with this album since I started writing this review, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there just really aren’t any. Even the lame “I wish it were longer” excuse doesn’t work here, because even under ten minutes, it just feels complete. Fuck you if you call it an EP, as well; full-length is as much a state of mind as a length of time, and this just happens to be one of the best LPs released this year. I’m already hungry for whatever these talented, vitriolic Brooklynites have to serve up next.
The band isn’t on any of the usual social networking sites, but you can order this excellent LP here. If you’re one of those try-before-you-buy types, a quick Google search will find you a download; I usually don’t openly support piracy in my reviews, but I know that one or two listens will probably be enough for you to order a copy of your very own.