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Album Review: Psapp – What Makes Us Glow

Photo credit: Alessia Chiappino

Photo credit: Alessia Chiappino

Artist: Psapp

Album: What Makes Us Glow

Tracks: 12

Release date: 11th November 2013

Label: The state51 Conspiracy

After a four-year hiatus, the London-based duo, Psapp (consisting of Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant) are releasing their new album titled What Makes Us Glow.

Having formed over a decade ago and released three other albums, as well as a number of EPs, Psapp has returned with a great new album that will both instantly chill you out and bring a smile to your face no matter what activity you are doing.

Tracklist

1. Life Hums – This is the introduction of the album which is 17 seconds of ambience, leading into the next track quite fluently.

2. Wet SaltWet Salt is really the first track on the album and it has a very electronic and a synth-like sound, but not in the traditional sense of synthesiser sounds. Psapp have been said to have pioneered a genre of electronic music dubbed ‘toytronica’ and this is really how Wet Salt sounds. By mixing the homemade sounds and traditional instruments it’s a fantastic track to listen to.

3, The Cruel, the Kind and the Bad – This song has a very Waltz-like feel, which will make you feel that you should get up and ballroom dance with someone.

4. Seven –Seven lets you see from Galia’s own personal perspective, this track includes some deep lyrics, which adds another level of emotion to the album overall.

5. That’s the Spirit – Being made from what sounds like rubber bands and an organ, That’s the Spirit creates a near-fairground sounding track. It’s a fun sound to listen to, but it also has some meaningful lyrics such as “all the sea will never stem the drought”, which seems mysterious, but keeps the listener interested. It’s definitely a track to sit down and interpret yourself.

6. In the Black – Starting off sounding almost a little tribal in its use of percussion, In the Black has a nice feeling of movement that will leave you wanting to replay it over and over.

7. Everything Belongs to the Sun – As we  already covered in our previous review of this song, Everything Belongs to the Sun ”immediately gets the listener moving as its sound is heavily rhythm-based with multiple layers of female vocals.”

8. Bone Marrow – This is probably the most chilled out song on the album, in which the layered voices of Galia has a very soothing effect on the listener. It’s calm sounds aren’t invasive at all and it’s a great track to relax to, something which is contrasting to a lot of the lively-sounding sounds on the album. .

9. Your Hot Knife – This is a song with a great personality, it’s groovy and features some  great organ sounds. What’s different with this track is that a bicycle bell is added in half way through as a rhythmic instrument. This song flows and fits together brilliantly.

10. The Well and the Wall – A relaxed and near psychedelic feel is present in this track and again, it uses unusual sounds. Perhaps one of the less unique songs on the album, it’s still a solid production.

11. What Makes Us Glow – The album-titled song What Makes Us Glow is filled with snippets of different instruments and layered vocals which brilliantly suit each other.

12. In and Out – The closing track of the album includes Galia’s own rhythmic snores which strangely matches the style of the song, making the song that much more relaxing and enjoyable.

What Makes Us Glow has a lot of strong points, from the fluency between tracks to the delightful blend of different music elements by using plenty of different sounds. Some of the instruments used in this album really are crazy and creative, like their homemade marimba made from bones, a box of mealworms and even Galia’s snores.

When combined with some of the more traditional instruments (like piano, violin and organs) it brings some simple sounds into 12 songs that really all could stand on their own. This album has a kind of festival feel which makes the listener want to dance, yet at the same time it manages to be easy to listen to and can be quite relaxing. This ability to include some contrast in the feelings induced by the sounds is a sign of good musicianship. It has some genuinely catchy moments and it’s typical of Psapp to experiment with their sounds.

The only negative about What Makes Us Glow is that the album is sadly quite short. At just under 40 minutes, it leaves you wanting a few more songs after it’s finished.

Having already put Everything Belongs To The Sun onto soundcloud and releasing a single of Wet Salt on the 4th November, keen fans and people who generally want to check out Psapp can already listen to two of the songs from the album.

Even though it is a fairly short album, this album is brilliantly unique and flows together really well, with all of the various traditional and improvised instruments complementing each other with a fresh and fun sound which allows easy listening with the probability that you will listen to it again and again.

The album is due to be released on the 11th November, and believe me when I say, it’s worth a listen.

To find out more about Psapp, you can visit their:

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21-year-old third year Computer Science student at the University of Hertfordshire that often gets mistaken for the Milkybar kid.

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