When I listened to some songs of Standing Wave, an album by Psychic For Radio, I didn't have the slightest idea which musicians had recorded this album. However, I enjoyed the music a lot. As soon as I received a promo of this release I realized that it was recorded by people who already had made a name in the music scene. The most important musicians on Standing Wave are Shawn Gordon (keyboards, guitars) and Henning Pauly (guitars, bass, keyboards, programming). They are assisted by a strong rhythm section consisting of bassist Miles Gordon and drummer Mark Zonder (ex- Fates Warning).
The story of this musical project started early 2005, when Gordon, the director of record label Progrock Records, and multi-instrumentalist Pauly (Frameshift, Chain) were having a conversation about music. Gordon told Pauly something about 'hearing songs in his head that were once on the radio'. He said: “I'm a psychic for radio.” More or less as a joke he said that this would be a good name for a band as well. At this point they came both with the idea to record a basic punk album with a group of people living at the studio for three or four days. They would also film the whole thing like a kind of Spinal Tap documentary. However, it turned out differently.
In the meantime the concept started to move in different directions. In the end the overall concept was to make music in an environment free of egos and without further thinking of it. For this objective Shawn Gordon was able to attract some amazing musicians to realize it. In the end several great singers like Rick Livingstone, Adrian O'Shaughnessy, Todd Plant and Maya Haddi Zebley contributed, but also great instrumentalists assisted like Martin Orford (ex-IQ, ex- Jadis) on flute, Peter Matuchniak (Evolve IV, Gekko Projekt) on guitar, Carl Westholm (Carptree, Jupiter Society) on keyboards, Sean Entriken (Prymary) on guitar, Bill Berends (Mastermind) on guitar and Marek Arnold (Seven Steps To The Green Door, Toxic Smile) on saxophone. All of them provided excellent contributions to Standing Wave, making sure to work out a professional album.
In the intro I already stated that I immediately liked the music created by this USA based project when I heard it for the first time. After listening to the album several times I realized that they had recorded something special. All tracks sound rather melodic and could be labelled as progressive rock. However, at first I had some strange feelings about the way they included Euthymal and Blood (Into Wine), two rather heavy guitar tracks. I guess they featured these prog metal tunes to provide the album more diversity. Another odd track is School's Out, a cover from Alice Cooper. This classic rock track made me think of a band like Nine Inch Nail.
All of the ten self-penned compositions are of a high level, but I still have three personal highlights that stand out to the other pieces, like the opener On My Own, which has a nice groove and the Arabian sounding melody gets stuck inside your head for a long time. Once Begun is a very strong piano ballad and She Knows is a fine mellow track where Martin Orford plays the flute. In a way this piece sounds like a Jadis tune. Furthermore the album contains several outstanding guitar solos and great vocal performances that lifted the album to a high level.
Psychic For Radio's debut is a surprisingly strong production containing songs of a high quality level ranging from prog rock to jazz-rock and from classical music to prog metal. The high level of musicianship and the vocal performances make sure that you'll enjoy this fine album. Therefore it's highly recommended.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013