Indie-pop musician Maxwell Varey gets into the groove with his second darker than disco single, ‘Psycho’. Well known in the Manchester music scene, Wigan-born Varey spent most of his teens gigging across the city with his former band. But lockdown threw a spanner in the works leaving him unable to perform live and inspired to try something new. Varey launched his solo career in the winter of 2020 and released his debut single ‘Lucid’. The 18-year old has since become his own one-man band, writing, recording, playing on and producing each and every element of his music. His DIY approach has resulted in his latest alt-pop dream, ‘Psycho’.
The blasé, aloof nature of Varey’s vocals reminds me of Peter Bjorn and John in ‘Young Folks’. He channels Tame Impala, Tom Misch and Anderson Paak as the song’s infectious melody seduces and reels you into dark fantasies “between the shadows”. Varey’s repetition of lyrics is hypnotic as he sings, “I’m a psycho in the night”, again and again over a funky electro-rhythm. An unemotional tone emphasises Varey’s words which reveal a fascination with manipulative personalities who are still able to find love and sympathy. The beat dredges along, upbeat but heavy, like a fast-moving creature made of slime pounding the ground with every step.
High-notes bounce along like shoots of light in the dark. The layers of music build and thicken from an initial morning soundscape – rooster and bird sound included. Subtle screams even find their way into the funky track, among the crash of cymbals and clang of guitars. Varey said the song is a dark description of how complex a manipulative relationship can become. He says, “I find it fascinating how people often find themselves sympathising with certain characters in films and shows, even if their character is a stalker or murderer. I can kind of understand it though – it’s strange how psychology works and I wanted to convey that within a song. It’s as if manipulation can go beyond fiction and, in some ways, the viewer can find themselves equally as manipulated as the characters in a show.”
‘Psycho’ is a song to sink your teeth into, dance to in the dark of night and scream along to your heart’s content.