It’s pop music, Jim, but not as we know it. Esther Joy is a member of Charli XCX's live band and her debut EP is what Charli would sound like if she were produced by Trent Reznor and Martin Gore. It’s atmospheric and trippy: utilising pop sounds and instrumentation to create something unsettling and occasionally nauseating.
Psychic Tears is her first EP and if there is such a thing as bubblegum noir, then this is it. Joy wrote, recorded, and produced it herself, and her individualist approach shows through in the end result. It’s a sound unlike anything else. It’s Marina And The Diamonds going shoegaze, and La Roux playing with The Cure. ‘Franke’ is a gothic synthfest with an Aphex Twin edge.
Recent single ‘Samgel’ teases with melody lines that beg for a big beat explosion but instead plumb the long dark night of the soul. Speaking about the song Joy said, “'Samgel' is the name I use for the dark presence I experience and write about a lot in my music. It is a part of me that has overwhelmed me so much in my life and been the root to most of my darkest moments. I named this track after it because as soon as I wrote that first synth line (the big intense one at the beginning), it was like I had found Samgel".” So she’s pretty much nailed it, I’d say.
New single ‘Friendless Necessity’ brings the EP to a close. It is haunting, hooky, and desperate; which sums up the record as a whole. Esther Joy shows the dark beauty of pop’s underbelly on Psychic Tears, but the most exciting thing about this release is the possibility of more to come.
Psychic Tears is available from iTunes.