Reviewed by: Meredith Aristone
Todd and Orenda Fink were first united on tour, doing what they love. It is no surprise that they ended up partaking in a whirlwind of a romance – one as passionate as the music that they create. Although they are solo artists in their own right, they have decided to combine their physical and emotional experiences as a creatively charged couple to come up with their debut collaborative EP, titled Personality Therapy. Interestingly enough, they have varying experience in a wide range of musical genres. Todd’s current most prominent presence is being frontman of The Faint, while Orenda makes up 50% of Azure Ray.
The EP is kicked off by “More Romantic”, an upbeat electronic tribute to the euphoric high of love that induces uncharacteristically mushy behaviors. It sets a tone of honesty and immediate artist-to-audience intimacy. The vocals are low-fi accents in a sea of chaotic bass, thick, enthusiastic drums and choppy riffs. In fact, the waves of dynamic rhythm and thunderbolts of sound are often so intense and all over the place that lyrics are rendered incomprehensible by the storm of audio happening around them. It is almost like working in a restaurant: someone is shouting a variety of commands in the kitchen, battling for dominance with the clatter of pots, pans, and the sizzle of a stove. It is undeniably a unique trait for songs to posses, and it is done right, to the point where the murmuring and the mumbling are easily perceived as aspects of a stylistic flare.
Vocally, it is evident that when put together, the couple are almost limitless in terms of range. In “Early Black” they share a hauntingly beautiful duet in which Todd shows off the texture and depth to his bellow while Orenda accompanies him with a sweet, lullabye-esque crow. She then goes on to exhibit an astonishing soprano capability in “In Murmeration,” the staticky track that directly follows. “Murmeration” sounds like something that would be caught playing from the metal speakers of a spaceship, the technologically advanced musical ceiling of a diner in 2050, or a frat party on Mars. The modernist theme that prevails as the EP continues is like a refreshing glimpse into the future. Vocals are edited with a high intensity that seems to mimic robots in “End of the Maze” and the lyrics that do reach ears in a way that makes sense are profound and shameless acknowledgements of what it is like to be human, and to experience certain emotional vulnerabilities.