Imbued with a sense of disorienting euphoria, Head Body Connector embraces abstract pop as a vessel in which to explore time and change. The third offering from Noah Prebish, Peter Spears, and Brother Michael Rudinski’s Brooklyn-based band Psymon Spine, is both an ode to the dissonance of temporality, and an ecstatic tribute to friendship and harmony in the face of that dissonance.
Head Body Connector, which comes out on Northern Spy this February, is a gritty, punchy, guitar-forward studio record from a band obsessed with production. It’s also a record that, more so than any previous Psymon release, is explicitly informed by the band’s notoriously cathartic live show. “It’s more unhinged than anything we’ve made before,” says Prebish, “Throughout the writing process, we were always asking ourselves how we could make it really fun to play live.” The end result is a little Sonic Youth, a little YMO, and basks in the glow of early 2000s New York-based dance punk and electroclash. If you were to ground it in something more current: Kevin Parker meets Spirit of the Beehive.
The irony is that this record, though ready-made to be performed, was mostly written in 2020, when shows were not happening. The band split their time between various home studios and friends’ back porches in Montauk, the Catskills, Boston, and Brooklyn. Outside it was fall, crisp autumn air, political disquietude looming in the background lending itself to an undeniable longing for companionship. That’s how longtime friend and collaborator Sabine Holler felt from across the globe in Berlin, when she penned the lyrics to “Boys,” one of the record’s singles. “Cycling around, and/I’m gonna lose it,” she sings, “It’s never too late/to know what I’m not supposed to show.” Around her, gothic guitars tweak out, and a strident run of synthesizers support Spears and Prebish’s chorus lyrics, “Come back, see us often/We hope to see you again” to which Holler responds simply, “I want to hang out with my boys”. It’s affectionate, but there is a feeling of underlying psychic unease. Like: you are up all night, your eyes are swollen, the beer is getting warm, the TV set is stuck on the channel search setting.
Head Body Connector saw the induction of two longtime friends of the band, drummer Zebadiah Stern and singer/guitarist Sarah Aument, both on tour and in the studio. “Wizard Acid,” which opens with Stern’s chugging hihats beneath a wall of Abba-esque string synths, brings a lighter, almost campy tone to similar feelings of isolation, with Spears chronicling being eaten alive by a haunted house. It’s irreverent, and really funny (“I’ve got to get out before I’m a decor/or it turns me into a piece of furniture,” goes one memorable line). But it’s also weirdly sexy, a woozy disco track loaded with catchy synths. It features Liquid Liquid’s Dennis Young on percussion and Angel Deradoorian (Dirty Projectors, Flying Lotus, The Roots) on backing vocals.
The record’s third single, “Bored of Guitar,” is a provocation because it’s built around the guitar. It’s about what it feels like to be on the road, touring constantly, having your goals shift and refocus. It’s angular and leans into textured post-punk percussion with the guitar a big and bright wave of light.
As Psymon Spine was creating Head Body Connector, the world was experiencing extreme earthly and psychic disruption. “It felt like we had collectively jumped from one timeline to another, more bizarre one,” says Noah. The theme of time – fractured, chopped, and screwed – is central both to the songs and album art for HBC, the latter of which was designed by New York-based artist Bucky Boudreau. It appears in the form of alternative measurements of passing seconds, minutes, days, lifetimes – a cracked egg, tally marks on a chalkboard, and infinity signs made of camp bracelets. “Head Body Connector is our response to a world even more chaotic than usual,” says Peter Spears, “and an exploration of the little joys, anxieties, and absurdities that world has to offer.”
Publicity Contact: Lisa GottheilFor tour dates and more visit: psymonspine.bandcamp.com/album/head-body-connector