Using a rather interesting metaphor, Psykobreak! is tackling a toxic relationship with their single ‘Rat King’. Using the notation of a Rat King, a group of mummified rats with their tails together, the band considers how we get tangled together in a relationship making it hard to pull away. Packed with the complex intricacies of abusive and otherwise toxic relationships, the single is a very unique take on the topic.
This look at toxic relationships comes from Eliza Costello and Riley Buffington. The duo met through a guest speaker at Buffington’s audio engineering school and have been making music ever since. While this song has been in the works for four years and has been through a number of versions, we are happy that it has finally been unleashed for all of us to enjoy.
‘Rat King’ vibrates through your muscles with a melody that has a touch of creeping darkness and eeriness. The electronic tones have an experimental industrial edge to them that shuffles and shifts into toe-tapping electronic pop. There is an intricate swirl of tones through the melody that has you shuffling to the beat while never quite knowing where the next beat will come from. This is a great sonic representation of toxic relationships where you are always on edge and never quite know where you stand. As the single progresses, the melody gains an aggressive edge that pushes at your head before punching at your chest. While there is a feeling of various inky lines converging through the soundscape, the music comes together for a great march forward.
While you are being kept off-kilter by the melody, the vocals have a slightly staccato movement to them as they leap and tap against your ears. The lyrics are packed with metaphors and abstract imagery that wonderfully captures the mental state of people in a toxic relationship. There is a touch of wanting to stay in the relationship forever as you are tangled with the other person, but this is contrasted by the slightly scared scratch that comes later. When the melody gets a burst of aggression, the vocals punch out to match and shake up your insides.
Psykobreak! capture the intricacies of a toxic relationship through the darkness and longing woven into the skittering electronic tones of ‘Rat King’. The music keeps you on edge as you never quite know where the next note will come from. The vocals creep against your senses and swing from one emotional extreme to the other.