Psych Fuck is the 8th studio album from Icelandic underground favorites Singapore Sling.
Named not for the cocktail, but after a strange early 90’s cult film, the group has never been shy about their love of the ghastly realm. However, like a bottle of wine that has spent countless years in the darkness, this album shows a perverse complexity that has slowly developed over time. While still keeping in touch with some of the drone and space elements displayed on previous records, a new form of terror-psych has emerged.The release comes as a follow up to last year’s The Tower of Foronicity. “It’s songs from the same sessions so they don’t sound much different. They just sound a bit more fucked up because of the way they’re mixed and mastered – they sound more like demos”, mastermind Henrik Bjornsson explained in an interview with Fuzz Club Records. There is a level of unsettling goth/horror intensity anchored on several tracks, as evidenced on the opener “Dive In”. Originally recorded by fellow Reykjavik residents and alt hip-hop group Quarashi, the trip-hop gem is fed through a horror circus machine and transformed into a jarring account of anticipation. When Henrik sings “Is it good to be secure?” I am left wondering the same thing.
There are several references to journeying into the furthest depths, and pining to be in hell, below the surface. The bellowing, sexy riff on “Dying Alive”, combined with a striking vocal duet featuring Bjornsson’s sister Anna, make for a memorable moment on the LP. Though it is nearly impossible to miss the darker notes on Psych Fuck, the sound is also affected by infectious garage-rock grooves and Reed-isms, displayed on the slinky tune “The Underground” and the very danceable track “Glitter”. There is a layer of grit present that distinguishes these influences from being directly called upon. “ÆJL” is one of my favorites on the album. There is a slow, methodical buildup that leaves you salivating, before the eventual climax around the 2:00 min mark.
“Try” is the type of song I imagine they play at those S&M dungeon parties I’m never invited to. An impossibly deep vocal delivery reminiscent of an echo laden Tom Waits is layered over haunted house eeriness to deliver some curious results. “Give me some other love….this one’s all fucked up.” Lyrically, “Give Me Some Other” shines a light on some of Singapore Sling’s punk sensibilities. Closing the themes that began with Tower of Foronicity, the ending track of the same name reminds listeners “When you think you’re at the top, you’re really on the bottom”. Perhaps a lifetime of lurking comfortably in winter shadows has offered Singapore Sling an advantage over bands from elsewhere……their sinister notes never feel forced, and offer the listener a chance to dive into their own unknown.