Psychology = Sigur Rós + The 1975 + Tycho
Psychology is the brainchild of Utah-transplanted Brit singer/songwriter Colin Rivera. Hailing solidly from the alt-pop movement, Rivera nested in London to craft Psychology, preceded by several stunning career collaborations, with artists Chvrches and Mark Ronson and producers Daryl Bamonte of Depeche Mode. Rivera’s Psychology project is more than mere fruits of a brilliant resume. It is timely, taut and transformational. Opening with a riffy yet ambient “Insomnia,” this 10-track album is atmospheric and anticipation-building with strong pop melodies and hooks.
“Freak” picks up the pace and delights with subtle tinges of Rivera’s accent creeping through and speaking to the shared liberation of being “a freak like me.” The expansion and contraction of each track evokes images of fluorescing sea creatures fluttering through the blue with sudden bursts of glittery propulsion. One moment the listener is energized, the next lulled gently into a soft meditation. “Whispers” offers that same electronically influenced vibration with a rock edge, even verging on a post-punk sound. “Heart” is a track somewhat lost amid its cohorts, feeling vaguely fatigued and something of an afterthought B-side. Psychology ends competently with the rhythmic and slightly shimmery soundscapes of “Hope” and “Sleep,” proving that Rivera’s mind is effective machinery for the vision of the album.
The narrative of Psychology is perplexing, especially considering Rivera’s ostensible personal history. Internal conflict and spiritual rumination seem rife in the album, with some tracks being more transparent than others. Lyrically, Psychology feels a bit pompous at times, yet that energy is wholly congruent with the modern, more intellectual Brit-pop mentality, which bleeds boastfully on the reg. The vocals on Psychology can tire the ear a tad, with the occasional obdurate tone and slight shoutiness. In whole, Psychology is a standout in the local music scene and a solid spin for lovers of the ambient, eclectic pop territory. –Paige Zuckerman