Beautifully named, albeit rather imposing, that will make you instantly think at a full ‘rockin’ band, The Psychedelic Birthday Party is instead the solo project of Dutch singer/songwriter Kevyn van der Linden, who describes his music as ‘ghostly pop for the lost’, a bittersweet blend of alternative pop and melancholic indie, veering between calm and distortion, darkness and light, simplicity and subtlety.
TPBP‘s poignant, fragile and heartfelt ‘sad pop’ debut single, entitled “Bad Blood”, uncoils over repetitive wistful pinpoint acoustic arpeggios, slightly scratchy hypnotic strums and sparse restrained aching guitar bursts backed by lively drumbeats to create the perfect languorous and beguiling hazy backdrop for whispery, warm vocals haunted by alienation, sorrow and guilt.
Strong and unforgettable lyrics explore the world from a “just now” lost the love of my life perspective. Clam, bewildered and shamed vocals brood misunderstanding and isolation as a young man struggles to get through the very real feeling of heart-ache. Self-imposed isolation has run its course and turns into loneliness and fear as the nagging question, “Is there anyone out there? Like me?” arises, followed by the self-deprecating comment, “I’m bad blood.” The meaning of this statement remains shrouded in secrecy, but it does give a context to the guilt and shame heard in the sullen vocals seeking redemption.
The dramatic black and white companion video, directed by Bart Kalkman, features Lot van Teylingen in the mysterious role of an androgynous teen who just went through a break-up. Time-lapse photography adds depth and familiarity to the antagonist as a “look in the eyes” shot portrays innocent youth. Clouds eclipse the sun casting shadows of doubt as “I’m bad blood” hauntingly disperses causing a cold calculating smirk to cross the eyes sending shivers down the spine. A firm duality between the guiltless and the condemned play out using light and dark contrasts building in intensity and apprehension to the point of disturbia making one wonder. What made this seemingly normal person bad?
An all around great song from deeply touching lyrics to addictive guitar melodies all wrapped up in a wonderfully acted intimate portrayal of the inner struggle between good and evil.
Written by Catt Gillette and Lusso Fabrizio