Album Reviews

Cryptacize – Mythomania

(Asthmatic Kitty) UK release date: 4 May 2009


Now with added bassist, Cryptacize have elaborated on the sound that could be found on their Dig That Treasure release. They’re still reassuringly weird though – as any band who pick their drummer based on a YouTube cowbell video, as they did, would be.

Then again, perhaps they’re not that weird. After all, they are essentially a pop band, albeit a pop band who ransack a bygone age for inspiration. Maybe pop was just a bit weirder back in those days. When was the last time we had a song like Lola, Baby Sitting Boogie or Leader Of The Pack? It’s been a while.

If you were digging through a box of old seven inch singles and randomly picked any of these songs, you’d think nothing of it. Every single song on here sounds as if it has been plucked from the ’60s, stuck on vinyl, and hidden away in the attic for some lucky soul to find and play back-to-back. While that would go against the laws of physics and therefore defies possibility, with Cryptacize it is exactly the kind of thing you can imagine happening if you try.

If you were playing this album on cassette, opening track Tail & Mane would have you lurching for the stop button pretty damn quickly. Its introduction sounds as if the spools are winding too quickly, spilling the tape into the interior of the deck and destroying everything the band have been working on. It soon settles down though into typical ’60s sounding fare.

Nedelle Torrisi’s vocals are perfectly pitched and firmly rooted in a different age. It’s only that sound that drags the song away from the past. The sound of tape unravelling; of music falling apart. You’d imagine that such a sound could probably be found echoing around the head of Phil Spector as the guilty verdict came in. You could practically see it spooling from his ears.

This deconstruction of the sound of the ’60s is prevalent across the entire of Mythomania. All the signifiers are there, they’ve just been arranged and processed in such a way as to feel slightly uncomfortable and surreal. You’d half expect Cryptacize to be scoring a David Lynch movie in the next few months.

Blue Tears is a brilliantly dreamy stomp through psychedelic pop, with galloping drums, what might be a harpsichord leading the charge, and a brilliant staccato guitar lick holding the whole thing together. At the forefront Torrisi’s vocals are haunting and saccharine sweet. If she has a current contemporary then you need not look too much further than The Cardigans and A Camp‘s Nina Persson, whose voice is similarly evocative of the swinging ’60s, with a hint of personal Altamont just below the surface.

New Spell jerks around in a fractious tango. It’s poppy, but still finds time for the Torrisi to sound like Spector’s old flames The Ronettes being dropped over Hiroshima, while the guitars manage to emulate the trail of the Enola Gay’s jets.

Mythomania is overdriven, with sparks flying from the bolts in its neck and fruit machine cherries lining up in its vacant eye sockets. But it sounds perfect somehow. Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose, and Cryptacize most definitely have a purpose.


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Cryptacize – Mythomania