Review from Microsoft Music Central Review


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Psychotica's androgynous frontman Patrick Briggs is known for arriving on stage lashed to a mirrored cross or emerging naked from a chrome-plated egg. A quasi-scary persona in metallic greasepaint, Mohawk dreadlocks, and a snug-fitting silver rubber spacesuit, Briggs relishes attention and feeds on shock value. He's even fostered a growing mythology that includes the dubious report that he had his penis removed to prevent him from continuing an earlier career as a male prostitute. With all that, you might expect Psychotica's music to be an invisible backdrop for the New York band's unwholesome theatrics and visual updates on Alice Cooper. Fact is, Psychotica has sculpted a captivating if somewhat psychodramatic monument to '90s glam-rock. Part Iggy and part Ziggy, Briggs is a shameless David Bowie impersonator who earns our grudging respect by bringing his own verve, talent, and eccentricity to the role.

The 18-track debut is a cyber cabaret of electronic noodling, metal thump, and spacey lyrics. "Take a ride on Halley's comet!" Briggs commands on the dreamy "Little Prince." An alien raps in the galvanic "Starfucker Love," and "Cybernation" is an oddly effective fusion of electronic ambiance and reggae.

Shaped by Adam Ant and Nina Hagen, the singer also summons the rock histrionics of AC/DC and Jon Bon Jovi in some tunes, but he soars and roars with authority on "Flesh And Bone," the multi-layered "Barcelona," and a strong cover of Devo's "Freedom of Choice." He's most riveting in tantrum mode, especially the retro glam-rocker "Ice Planet Hell" and speedy guitar-buzzed "Stop."

Inventive and ambitious, the band manages to create a lasting impression even in such brief interludes as "The Sleep," a melancholy cello-and-piano respite from chaos. It's no wonder that Psychotica, with or without its Star Wars props, was signed to Ventrue on the merits of a single rehearsal.

by Edna Gundersen