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Alienist [Single]
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  • With the 2016 mini-LP Alienist, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's long-running Psychic TV continue with the hard, guitar-driven psychedelic rock sound prevalent in their 21st century iterations, while nodding to their late-'80s/early-'90s acid house era. Since 2007's Hell Is Invisible...Heaven Is Her/e, they had been known as PTV3, but by 2014's voodoo-inspired Snakes they were back to being billed as simply Psychic TV, and the cover of Alienist bears the original name. The group upholds its long-standing tradition of covering iconic songs from across the spectrum of psychedelia and classic rock, stretching back to their mid-'80s rendition of the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" to latter-day takes on Hawkwind's "Silver Machine" and Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain." Here, they begin the program with Harry Nilsson's eternally awesome "Jump into the Fire," which manages to fit perfectly within the band's repertoire; "Ov Power" from their 1982 debut, Force the Hand of Chance, was built on a groove that was undoubtedly inspired by Nilsson's hit. PTV's interpretation is actually pretty straightforward, although it's three minutes longer than the original Nilsson Schmilsson album version, including two extended breakdowns, during which Genesis dwells on the line "We can make each other happy." The album's other cover is a version of the Creation's "How Does It Feel to Feel," which is once again rather faithful to the original, although Genesis sings the lyrics with a bit of an extra sleazy swagger. "Alienist" is where Psychic TV reconnect with their dance influences, although the song's 4/4 disco shuffle is beat on live drums, and the bubbling synthesizers are clearly played in real time rather than programmed or sequenced. The song's bassline isn't too far removed from the Stone Roses' "Fools Gold." P-Orridge's lyrics are delivered in a dry monotone, and they're concerned with aliens existing inside the brain, running out of time, and other paranoid thoughts. Ultimately, s/he feels "not alone" and the song's dance groove reflects the song's message of inclusion and togetherness rather than isolation. Alienist is a short but introspective album, reaching back far into the past for inspiration and connecting with unseen positive forces. ~ Paul Simpson
Professional Reviews
Pitchfork (Website) - "That Psychic TV can reach to the past without appealing to such regressive attitudes is just one of the qualities that give ALIENIST its charm. That they still sound vital and wide-eyed doing it makes it a triumph."
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