Vaulting back and forth in the left channel of our stereo speakers, a gruff electric guitar enters focus as the churn of “Psykik Chemist,” the new single from Seattle’s The Cutthroat Brothers, rises from the silence with a violent gusto that is only a taste of what’s to come in the next few minutes of play. The strings are mixed with a clarity that is rarely afforded to heavier rock material, and it’s through this tremendous physical presence that listeners become spellbound within seconds of the song commencing. The music video for “Psykik Chemist” takes us into a close-quarters club in the heart of the Emerald City, but you don’t have to be watching its colorful shots to feel the vibrant energy of the band occupying them.
There aren’t any velvety vocals or bittersweet serenades in “Psykik Chemist;” in their place, The Cutthroat Brothers forge a melodic freight train to dispatch their lyrics in this track, and avoid the hazardous sounds of pop plasticity in the process. The riffs ebb and flow through the first stanza with just enough distance to allow the vocal track to warm up the icy center of the song, but there’s never any doubt as to what the real centerpiece of this single is. This is a string showcase, a discordant display of distorted prowess, and as fuzz-laden as it ultimately is, there’s no arguing that every intricate detail within the master mix is pristinely polished, making for a maximized wallop in every twist and turn that the composition contains.
The chorus here is a product of the old fashioned blues-rock model, but I would stop short of describing it as a throwback to the past. The Cutthroat Brothers are very good at making their amalgamation of styles sound really streamlined and robust, and there’s scarcely a moment in their debut album – this track included – where their music sounds uncontemporary. They’ve got a wealth of experience in the studio between the two of them, and they’re working both of their skillsets into this piece without devolving into a competition for the lion’s share of our attention. These guys are bringing out the best in each other while also paying homage to the rich alternative rock lineage that got them this far, and if that’s not something worth writing home about this summer, then I don’t know what is.
“Psykik Chemist” comes to a conclusion much in the same way that it starts-up; in a sudden tizzy of electrified tonality. This is possibly my favorite song from The Cutthroat Brothers’ first album, and I’m certainly not the only critic saying as much at the moment – it’s got a spunk that is startlingly uncommon in mainstream rock anymore, and compared to its major label counterparts, it’s a Molotov cocktail of melody, machismo and masterful songwriting. There’s plenty of room for growth in this band’s sonic profile, but as far as I’m concerned, what they’ve released for us in “Psykik Chemist,” and its punky music video, is in the top tier of independent singles to see release in 2019. This unit has my attention, and once you hear their new song for yourself, they’ll likely have yours, too.
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