Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act Psymon Spine — Noah Prebish, Sabine Holler, Brother Michael Rudinski, and Peter Spears — can trace its origins back to when its founding duo of Noah Prebish and Peter Spears met while attending college. Bonding over mutual influences and common artistic aims, Psymon Spine’s founding duo toured the European Union with Prebish’s electronic project Karate. And as the story goes, while in Paris, Spears and Prebish wrote their first song together. By the time, they arrived in London, they were offered a record deal.
When Psymon Spine’s founding duo returned to the States, Spears recruited Micheal “Brother Micheal” Rudinski and their Karate bandmates Devon Kilbern, Nathaniel Coffey to join their new project. And with that lineup, they fleshed out out the demos, which wold eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2017’s You Are Coming to My Birthday. The band went out to support the effort with immersive art and dance parties like their Secret Friend party series across Brooklyn and through relentless touring.
Prebish was also splitting his time with rising Brooklyn-based dream pop act Barrie and around the same time, Barrie began to receive attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere as a result of a handful of buzz-worthy singles, and 2019’s full-length debut, Happy to Be Here. Interestingly while with Barrie, Prebish met his future Psymon Spine bandmate, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sabine Holler.
The rising Brooklyn-based outfit’s sophomore album, Charismatic Megafauna was released earlier this year through Northern Spy to critical applause from the likes of Paste Magazine, FLOOD, Brooklyn Vegan, Under the Radar and NME. The album and its material was added to a number of playlists including NPR Music, Spotify‘s New Music Friday, All New Indie, Undercurrents and Fresh Finds, Apple Music‘s Midnight City and Today’s Indie Rock and TIDAL‘s Rising. And the album received airplay internationally from BBC, KEXP and KCRW among others. The album explores the complicated feelings and catharsis involved in the dissolution of human relationships through hook-driven, left-of center electronic dance meets psych pop.
In the lead up to Charismatic Megafauna‘s release, I managed to write about three of the album’s released singles:
- “Milk,” a coquettish, club friendly banger with Barrie that brings to mind In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Soft Metals‘ Lenses. The single received attention internationally — with the single receiving praise from Vanyaland, High Clouds, Echowave Magazine, The Revue, Hype Machine and a list of others.The track also landed on Spotify playlists like Undercurrents, All New Indie and Fresh Finds, as well as the YouTube channels of David Dean Burkhart, Nice Guys‘ and Birp.fm. And lastly, the track received airplay on BBC Radio 6.
- “Modmed,” an Andrew VanWyngarden-produced and cowritten, strutting disco-tinged track that’s captures the ambivalent and confusing mixture of frustration, doubt and relief of a relationship that had long petered out and finally wound down to its inevitable conclusion. Interestingly, the song is inspired and informed by personal experience: Prebish and Holler’s difficult decision to leave Barrie to focus on Pysmon Spine full-time.
- “Confusion,” a hazy and lysergic banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a wobbling bass line and looping guitar solo paired with Prebish’s plaintive vocals and a trippy, spoken word-delivered break that sonically reminded me of Tame Impala‘s Currents.
Psymon Spine caps off a big 2021 with the digital 7 inch release, “Mr. Metronome”/”Drums Valentino.” “‘Mr. Metronome’ and ‘Drums Valentino’ were among the first song ideas we came up with when first starting our sophomore record” says founding member Noah Prebish. “We wrote them near the end of a two year hiatus which was spent pursuing various other projects by the individuals in the band. Following the break, we were all feeling hungry to make a new Psymon Spine record and we quickly began exploring the new sounds that would ultimately define the album. This process left us with two tracks which were a bit too crazy for Charismatic Megafauna, but too good not to finish.”
“Mr. Metronome” may arguably be the most straightforward, club friendly track of the band’s growing catalog. Featuring a German vocal hook sung by Sabine Holler, which translates to “I saw your message, I have to go work,” followed by a repeated refrain of “my schedule, my schedule,” “Mr. Metronome” is centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, glistening synth arpeggios and a relentless, motorik groove. Inspired by Kraftwerk, Soulwax and others, the song’s lyrics features musings on dating and social dynamics while reflecting the band’s restlessness and desire to quit all unfulfilling obligations to focus on what really matters to them — music.
“Drums Valentino” is a New Wave-like single featuring industrial clang and clatter, shimmering guitars, glistening synths and an off-kilter yet dance floor-friendly groove. Sonically, the song helps to emphasize the song’s lyrics, which talk about feeling uneasy and uncertain with a psychological precision.