CD, self-released, 2008
Although Psycho Shop have an impressive collective experience when it comes to making music, this does not translate that effectively when listening to “My Sweet Holocaust”, their first studio album. Although the combination of ethereal female with harsh male vocals has been a successful formula for other darkwave/EBM acts in the past (like L’Ame Immortelle or Flesh Field), this pairing of diametrically opposed singing styles doesn’t gel quite as well here. Thankfully, Jessy’s vocal abilities do dominate the sound in general, avoiding too many unfavourable associations being made with the likes of Blutengel et al.
Adding to the confusion already caused by such soft, gentle vocal styling, the music itself is sweet, melodic and accessible – hardly what one expects from an act with such an antisocial name. It immediately gives the impression that they’re trying to be something they’re actually not, and that’s a feeling that just doesn’t shake itself loose throughout the album. Otherwise, it’s fairly pedestrian fare – no deep attachment has been made after repeated listenings. If anything, a growing sense of annoyance can be felt: why in the world would musicians targeting a so-called “darker” audience make such bland, insipid, children’s birthday-party soundtrack jingles, rather than deep, emotional, provocative music?
That said, fans of any of the previously mentioned artists may find merit in this album. Personally, I find its highlights to be the tastefully executed CD artwork and the thoroughly amusing lyrics. Another sore point: why bother with the English language at all if it isn’t your mother tongue? As far as languages go, its a bastardised, nonsensical stew of dialects and borrowings, so why should it be the vehicle for the songwriter’s poetry, except perhaps to make the result more available to a larger audience? Which, once again, leads me to the question: why would anybody in an outfit named “Psycho Shop”, releasing albums with names like “My Sweet Holocaust” be at all concerned with commercial success?
Psycho Shop, you are undoubtedly skilled, technically, but lose the pretension and identity crisis, then try again.
— David vander Merwe