Review Summary: Pitchshifter go out on a weary high.
PSI is an album made by a band that is tired. Not in a lazy way, the energy on display here is as fierce as ever, if not more so. No, by this point in their career, Pitchshifter were tired of the way the world (and more specifically, the music industry) had become a production line. Endless, identikit crap that has been processed, homogenised and repackaged to the point of bland irrelevancy. J.S. Clayden sounds weary and fed up, his usually petulant vocals carrying an air of browbeaten resignation, while tinged with a very definite streak of animosity. Here is a band that has been pushed to breaking point by the corporate machine, and PSI is their final 'f*ck you', before flipping the bird and exiting the building. And, boy, they do NOT go quietly.
Straight off, 'Stop Talking (So Loud)' sneaks in with a croaky, wah-wah whisper before going off like a cluster bomb. 'My Kind' and 'Misdirection' are both dark, chugging and thoroughly unhappy. This theme pervades throughout most of the album. Where 'www.pitchshifter.com' and 'Deviant' had very obvious tongue-in-cheek tones, PSI is an altogether different beast. There is genuine anger here, aggression and force which lends a little more credibility to the subject matter. That's not to say there are no lighter moments; the excellent 'Super-Clean' features moments of audience applause, while 'Slip' contains a nice little callback to 'Microwaved'
This is also a much more personal album - lead single 'Shutdown' is a defiant, stomping track which could be interpreted as a reference to the band's move from the likes of Geffen and MCA to the much smaller Mayan Records. 'Whatever' firmly displays the band's indifference to aforementioned corporate machine and the avarice of so many in the music industry.
As for the music itself, it too has changed to reflect the darker feel of the lyrics. The recognisable guitar tones and tight drumming are now decidedly less cheerful than on previous albums. The drum 'n' bass influences that were so prevalent on '.com' are now few and far between, while use of samples and synths is as fitting as ever, creating a melancholic atmosphere that encompasses the whole album.
If '.com' was an angry teenager raging against the world and 'Deviant' was a twentysomething getting to grips with the harsh realities of adult life, then 'PSI' is a jaded forty year old who has been walked on and beaten down. 'PSI' hates his boss and is nearly at the point of ending it all, before finding just enough energy to quit by ***ting on the photocopier and pushing his desk from a twelfth-storey window. Weary and downbeat it may be in places, the album still manages to crackle with piss and vinegar. Until Pitchshifter decide to grace us with a new album, this will stand as a resignation letter that has wiped an ass and been shoved down the throat of a corpulent, diseased industry already choking on its own bland effluence.