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Esther Joy Psychic Tears

Esther Joy lures you in with strong hooks which reveal beyond them a rich tapestry of reverberating pop sounds.

Released: 31 July 2017
Psychic Tears

From the very beginning of Psychic Tears, singer, songwriter and producer Esther Joy provides multiple layers of sound to get lost in.

Opening with a highly textural intro track, with vibes not dissimilar to those of Swedish ambient duo Carbon Based Lifeforms, the ebb and flow of this wholly electronic EP is immediately given warmth and life which demands attention and bodily movement. 'Franke' kicks things straight into gear, a dynamically and rhythmically varied track which showcases Joy's skill in mixing atmosphere with movement, melancholy with excitement. It's a gothic dance track, made to get black-clad bodies moving.

Esther's voice throughout Psychic Tears is simple but engaging, aided by a great knack for melodies that match similar strengths in the synthetic aural backdrop. There are clear cues taken from the despondent edge of 80s synthpop throughout this release, the downbeat side of modern rave maniacs Crystal Castles also coming through strongly, especially on the pitch-shifted double vocals of the excellent 'Samgel'. Dense bass throbs permeate throughout Psychic Tears, made to wobble through big, bassy sound systems and vibrate into the dark souls of their audience.

'Wealth' and 'Friendless Necessity' are more understated than their predecessors, the former returning to the ambient techno influences hinted at in the opening track and the latter a twisted lament, warped into the shape of a subversive club anthem. Neither stand out as much as the earlier tracks, but round things out nicely.

There is not much here in terms of quantity, meaning that in some ways the EP feels like it's over before it's really begun. However, this is a blueprint that points to exciting possibilities for expansion in the future. Esther Joy lures you in with strong hooks which reveal beyond them a rich tapestry of reverberating pop sounds, hewn from what is really quite a small and conventional palette of tones. The overall effect is that of an accessible, tuneful release with a sobering, darker undercurrent. It's a winning formula.

Richard Spencer