Known simply as "t", German multi-instrumentalist Thomas Thielen has been recording music as a one-man act since his time with the short-lived progressive rock act Scythe ended, and 2013's Psychoanorexia marks the project's fourth full-length album since its 2002 debut. It's my experience that one-man bands often feature a weak link in the instrumentation, but Thomas Thielen is a deeply talented musician across the board; no instrument here outshines another, the arrangements are remarkably textured, and there is an attention to detail on Psychoanorexia that makes it easily stand out from the crowd. When the stunning vocal harmonies are also factored into the equation, it becomes clear that we are really dealing with something special here.
Thielen's music can best be described as neo-progressive rock, albeit a rather unconventional approach to the style. Imagine a more experimental version of Brave-era Marillion, and you're halfway there - Psychoanorexia is a very atmospheric and ambient listen, but it still is 'busy' enough to scratch that prog itch. Although it only contains four tracks, Psychoanorexia clocks in at over an hour, as three of the songs here are around the twenty minute mark. The shortest track is entitled "The Irrelevant Love Song", and is actually one of the album's highlights. This is an example of a prog ballad done right! Of all the more extended pieces, the title track is my favorite (if only by a small margin); its ending segment sends chills up my spine every time.
Psychoanorexia is a near-flawless effort in my eyes, and anyone that enjoys melancholic progressive rock music with a bit of an edge is bound to love it. The only real knock I can give the album is the sound of the drum machine, which (in spite of how well-programmed it is) sounds a bit artificial to these ears. I'll admit that it's nitpicky complaint, though, and it hardly detracts from the overall experience of Psychoanorexia. This is a strikingly beautiful observation that stands tall as one of 2013's finest recordings!
1. The Aftermath of Silence (18:07)
2. Kryptonite Monologues (20:47)
3. The Irrelevant Lovesong (8:09)
4. Psychoanorexia (19:29)