Psy'Aviah – Lightflare

Psy'Aviah - LightflareAlbum Facts

Release Date: February 9th, 2018
Label: Alfa Matrix
Genre: , ,
Discogs: Link

Lightflare by Psy'Aviah is a dynam­ic and diverse album that will have you hooked from the first song. Belgium based Yves Schelpe has pro­duced anoth­er fant­ast­ic album as Psy'Aviah.

He has assembled a range of tal­en­ted vocal­ists that breathe their own unique light to the tumul­tu­ous sound­scape of Lightflare. The album is an emo­tion­al jour­ney from depres­sion into hope and I am def­in­itely long for the ride.

The Journey Begins

The albums open with Lost At Sea. It is a power­ful track with Mari Kattman con­trib­ut­ing some truly dynam­ic vocals that com­ple­ment the rhythms swirl­ing around them. It son­ic­ally reflects send­ing a flare from a skiff lost in a swirl­ing and tumul­tu­ous ocean, echo­ing the beau­ti­ful cov­er art.

Aftermath starts off muted with vocals, from Ellia Bisker, and music that sounds like you are hear­ing the track through a small tinny speak­er. But then the sound opens up into rich audio with sul­try, folksy vocals steeped in emo­tion that will have you sway­ing to the beat. There is some­thing hyp­not­ic about Aftermath that leaves you want­ing more.

Attempting to Disconnect

The Great Disconnect is a really inter­est­ing song. It has 1920s style, jazzy vocals over a subtle syn­thes­izer, trans­port­ing you back in time to a speak­easy. However, the lyr­ics tell a story about feel­ing dis­con­nec­ted from the world around you because of the encroach­ment of tech­no­logy. The Great Disconnect is des­ol­ate tone but rich in feel­ing. The music video per­fectly com­ple­ments this feel­ing, as it was filmed in an aban­doned town.

Sound Of New brings us crash­ing back into the future with a catchy upbeat song. The music has a sol­id groove with fun gui­tar riffs. Halfway through, the song breaks away from the up-tempo beat, has a syn­thes­izer cres­cendo ramp­ing back into the chor­us in full force.

A Change of Direction

In The Sound plays around with a totally dif­fer­ent style from the first few songs, with rap­ping dur­ing the verse and singing dur­ing the chor­us. The music per­fectly com­ple­ments this style with a dis­tor­ted bass sound and record scratch noise. It's funky and I dig it. Even though I'd clas­si­fy this song more as hip-hop than syn­thpop, it doesn't feel out of place on the album. The music is clearly Psy'Aviah and the chor­us has clean, under­stand­able vocals.

In The Sound flows into For Myself, which is anoth­er killer song on this incred­ibly diverse record. The syn­thes­izer is super catchy with a beat that'll have you boun­cing. It has a nice mix of a son­ic­ally harsh­er chor­us with clean under­stated verses, bal­an­cing the song per­fectly. The prot­ag­on­ist in the song talks about learn­ing to say no and to do more things for him­self. This theme res­on­ates with me. I, like many oth­er people, fre­quently say yes to doing things for oth­er people, but this song is a remind­er that some­times you need to do things for your­self. In The Sound is a great motiv­a­tion­al song that will stick with you.

Into the Pits of Despair

Heavy Heart brings back our tal­en­ted open­ing vocal­ist and returns the feel­ing of the album to a more sub­dued state. It has deep sad lyr­ics and a per­vas­ive sense of mel­an­choly, but up-tempo music that keeps you groov­ing. A feel­ing of hope starts to seep through the edges of the des­ol­ate son­ic land­scape that Psy'Aviah is build­ing on this record.

I should be lucky to be alive, but why do I have a heavy heart
Lyics from 'Heavy Heart' by Psy'Aviah

Next up is Reboot Reset Relay. The track is dance‑y and up-tempo, but the lyr­ics remain sad and on theme from Heavy Heart. The song is basic­ally a love let­ter to robots, roman­ti­ciz­ing becom­ing emo­tion­less and remov­ing pain­ful memor­ies. The vocals per­formed by Fallon Nieves fit in well with the lyr­ics. They're more stac­cato and flat echo­ing the robot­ic themes.

At the Depths

The theme of emo­tion­less is main­tained in the next song, Ghost. Male vocals, per­formed by David Chamberlin, serve as a foil to the female vocals in the pre­vi­ous song. The lyr­ic con­tent is sim­il­ar to Heavy Heart as well, revolving around being emo­tion­less in a sea of chaos and pain. The style of this song is EBM with a harsh­er indus­tri­al under­tone, high­light­ing the struggle of attempt­ing to erase emo­tion­al struggles through self-med­ic­a­tion. Ghost has dark themes and dark music and I can't get it out of my head.

And Climbing Back Out

Lonely Soul has a more hope­ful feel­ing to it than the pre­vi­ous songs. It feels like the prot­ag­on­ist is slowly pulling them­selves out of their desire to be emo­tion­less. The beat is laid back and remin­is­cent of trip-hop music.

And I fear, the louder I scream, the fur­ther they’ll be, and I fear, the louder I scream, the longer I scream, the fur­ther they seem.
Lyrics from 'Lonely Soul' by Psy'Aviah

The last quarter of the album is com­prised of short­er, up-tempo, hope­ful sound­ing songs. Plan B, keeps the laid back vibes from Lonely Soul but goes deep­er into trip-hop. This track con­tin­ues the upward tra­ject­ory in optim­ism present through­out the later part of the album. You feel like you're float­ing on a cloud while listen­ing to the eth­er­e­al music that is beau­ti­fully paired with Kyoko Baertsoen's vocals. Next up, Game Changer, is def­in­itely Electrorock. The pos­it­ive feel­ings con­tin­ue and this song could (and should) be played in clubs. It's up-tempo and gritty, just over­all a lot of fun.

A Final Crescendo

The album closes out with Under The Rain and Mr. Vanity. Under The Rain starts of quiet but with a driv­ing beat. The song pro­gress­ively adds lay­ers of sound with vocals, syn­thes­izer stings and oth­er elec­tron­ic tones. Under The Rain builds to a cres­cendo and leaves you want­ing more. The final song, Mr. Vanity, is the club­bi­est on the record. It has a lot going on with mod­u­lated vocals from Fallon Nieves behind a robust soundscape.

Stop the illu­sion, stop the insan­ity, you're not some hero, now are you Mr. Vanity
Lyrics from 'Mr. Vanity' by Psy'Aviah

All in all, this album needs to be in your col­lec­tion. It will take you on a jour­ney through killer syn­thes­izer sounds and emo­tion­ally charged lyr­ics that will take you to the depths of des­pair and bring you back out. And if you can't get enough of Lightflare, like me, you're in luck.

Aside from the fant­ast­ic back cata­logue of Psy'Aviah, the deluxe edi­tion of this album has 15 great remixes and a recently released EP called 'Looking for the Sun' has some new mater­i­al and even more remixes. I highly recom­mend you check it out once you come down off of the music­al high that Lightflare induces.

By the way, this album also made it into our art­icle ‘The best Synth Pop and genre-related albums 2018‘. Read now.

Track By Track Rating

Psy'Aviah - Lightflare
Psy'Aviah – Lightflare
Lost At Sea
Aftermath
The Great Disconnect
Sound Of New
In The Sound
For Myself
Heavy Heart
Reboot Reset Relay
Ghost
Lonely Soul
Plan B
Game Changer
Under the Rain
Mr. Vanity
Recommend
Aftermath
The Great Disconnect
Weak
(Nothing to report here)
3.9
Diverse & Dynamic

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Lost At Sea
Aftermath
The Great Disconnect
Sound Of New
In The Sound
For Myself
Heavy Heart
Reboot Reset Relay
Ghost
Lonely Soul
Plan B
Game Changer
Under the Rain
Mr. Vanity
Final Score