Psapp – What Makes Us Glow Album Review

Psapp are to release their new album What Make Us Glow on November 11.

Psapp, comprised of feline wielding troubadours Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant, met 12 years ago in a basement filled with plastic fish, compressors and elderly cushions and have been making music ever since.

What Make Us Glow is their first release for four years and will be released on November 11 through The state51 Conspiracy.

Psapp are probably best known for finding fame through the Grey’s Anatomy theme tune. New album What Makes Us Glow is a psychedelic whirl of an album with intricate orchestration, layered vocals and a pioneering spirit. Psapp relish in combining unusual musical elements; this record includes lead-singer Gaila’s rhythmic snores, boxes of writhing mealworms and a home-made boneaphone, among the more standard, piano, violin, and organs.

Lyrically it is an exercise in emotional stocktaking. These are songs of attachment, detachment and the slow realisation of what is essential. Second track Wet Salt introduces the album’s quirkiness straight away. Unusual tapping sounds are the first things that are heard before the more usual musical instruments kick in. The song has a great melody and rhythm which compliment the vocals perfectly. The chorus, “Don’t let it be over/Now I’m getting closer/Don’t let it be over/Don’t let it be” presents the message behind this song – attachment and the longing for something to last, for something to remain as it is. The attachment to comfort.

PSAPP What Makes Us Glow

PSAPP album artwork for What Makes Us Glow

The Cruel The Kind The Bad is a wonderful lyrical track which most people will be able to relate to. The style is unusual – it sounds like it belongs in an extravagant musical like the Moulin Rouge. It has an old, French jazz feel to it. You can almost imagine it being performed on stage with dancers in Victorian dress. The Cruel The Kind The Bad tells the story of a relationship that has destroyed someone’s personality, “He cheats you/He lies to you…He’s taken your best years away/But he’s all that you can find/Today will be the day you dry your eyes and walk away/He’s taken all the love you gave and all the love you made”. It’s a sad tale of a relationship that has emptied one person of all trust, love and hope. It’s told from a friend’s perspective who is trying to persuade their friend to leave this detrimental relationship and move forward alone, “You’re made of stronger stuff and it’s not you who needs to change/This is only one day/One day of many days.”

Seven is the highlight of What Makes Us Glow. It’s a lovely jazz number which, on first listen, appears to be about a lover but it’s actually a love song devoted to inspiration, to that brilliant moment where you spark into action. Inspiration is personified cleverly in this song, “And though I call/You won’t reply…Oh how I pine for you/You’re beaten down/Your tired frown…” The lyrics just before the final breakdown, “How can I right your wrongs/The list is just too long/How can I see the good in all we’ve done?/Where is the place you go…when you don’t walk beside me any more?” are genius in highlighting how the narrator sees inspiration in the same light as someone else might view a life partner. There is something very moving about this track.

In The Black is an amazing track featuring what sounds like a million and one different sounds which create layers of intricate melodies and rhythms. In The Black is another narrative track which has wonderful lyrics detailing the theme of attachment between mother and baby, “I found you in the forest and your bed was made of needles/You were sleeping…I took you in my arms/Oh I laid you on my breast/Breathing in your soft sighs and your milky breath…” and “I took you from the forest though you didn’t want to go/I tried to do my best for you it didn’t always show/I rocked you when you cried and hushed you in the black/You raised your eyes to meet mine.”

The Well And The Wall is a track that admits defeat from the start, “I wrote a page but no-one would read/I wore the reigns that no-one would lead/I saw a light glowing alone/And then a hand it was guiding me home/You found a cure though no-one was ill…I want to be made in your mould.” It’s a gentle song that expresses a sense of incompleteness and a will to want to do better or be a better a person, relying on someone else showing you the way. It’s a song about dependency rather than attachment. The chorus, “I’ve found a bottomless well/I’ve found a wall I could scale” shows this songs meaning in pure simplicity – there comes a time in everyone’s life where they hit rock bottom, they continue to fall deeper and deeper into this hole (or bottomless well). It seems like it can never get better. They strive to become a better person and stay optimistic but they lose their hope. Eventually, they meet someone who picks them up off the ground and places them back on their feet – they become their inspiration and they make them feel like anything is possible. This feeling is what The Well And The Wall represents.

There isn’t a bad track on What Makes Us Glow. Psapp are musically advanced – their unusual way of creating brilliant, quirky sounds is magnificent and will never cease to get old. What Makes Us Glow is an album where the songs are meaningful, catchy and inspiring. This is a record that everyone can relate to, the songs express emotions that everyone has felt at some point in their lives. After all, we all know how attachment, detachment, inspiration and dependency feel. What Makes Us Glow is an album that expresses all of these emotions in an artistic and refreshing way.

What Makes Us Glow is out on November 11.

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