Erin Fein, the mastermind behind the avant-pop project Psychic Twin, has had quite the ride over the four-year course of producing her album. After the dissolution of her marriage, Fein took her songs across the country, relocating to Brooklyn from her humble beginnings in Illinois. With a brand new life came a new image, and more importantly a newfound sense of sense-assurance, all of which marry together to for the icy cool heir around Psychic Twin. On her debut album, Strange Diary, Fein mixes effervescence melodies with frigid tinges of gothic pop, making for an album as ice cold as it is chilling.
Erin Fein composed the songs for Strange Diary in a time of great emotional turbulence. Over the course of four years, a broken marriage, and a cross-country relocation, Fein never seems to lose her cool in the heat of it all. Strange Diary finds Fein contemplating the undulation of emotions that comes from such a stressful time in life. She does so with grace and elegance, even in the darkest of times. In the second track “Stangers,” Fein is trying to meet in the middle with this mysterious “you” that acts as the subject in all of the album’s nine songs. Flourishing, icy synths get the track moving as Fein coos above them, “We don’t need to speak a certain language, we just need to see each others hearts.” In search for something that once was, Fein stays composed behind a thick sheet of ice. Without the support of an ex-lover, Fein stays strong fending for herself.
While much of the album’s lyrics play off of this idea of lost love, the songs are still bubbly and vibrant. Recalling modern alt-pop acts such as Grimes and St. Vincent, Fein’s cool sureness evokes the dark-pop style of Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Cocteau Twins in her chilly drum machine beats and synthesizers. On “Hopeless,” Fein says goodbye for good with her signature coolness. “I won’t take part in you,” she reiterates with some of her strongest convictions. Even on her more lonesome tracks such as “Unlock Your Heart,” Fein is able to beg for forgiveness and retain her composure as she assuredly repeats, “I’ll make you stay.”
There is certain clarity in Strange Diary that keeps the album cohesive, although it can become stagnant at times. The album’s slick production wards this off almost entirely, setting a strong foundation for Fein to recoup her poise. The result is an album that is as languid as it is catchy, as dark as it is emotive, and as ice cold as synth-pop should be.