Brothers David Sprague and Paul Sprague, based out of Southern Maine, are the founding members of Psychopath Etiquette, and have been playing music together for more than a decade. They formed the band in the summer of 2019 as a culmination of everything they had been working on since childhood. Currently completing a full-length album, they have released an EP, entitled “Rough Draft”.
If you like to navigate through the double vision of cleanly strummed acoustic guitars, introspective narratives and voices, as well as chunky, thick-stringed overdrive and angst filled vocal deliveries, Psychopath Etiquette will easily fulfill that need. They switch from one contrasting sound aesthetic to another on “Rough Draft”.
There’s a bittersweet meeting of macabre words and folky tunefulness that meets with indie and alt-rock rawness. There’s something about the lead vocals that will press all your emotional buttons. The cracked searching voice, the dark lyrics, and the music that veers from barely there, to full-on rocking guitars, will hook you.
From when the EP opens with the melancholic, breakup sadness, on the acoustic bump of “Trash (Treasure)”, there is simple but impacting imagery to be had throughout this recording, and Psychopath Etiquette scatters them it about, for you to find meaning everywhere.
“Life 9” results in the band throwing together a cacophony of guitars, drums and vocals. It’s a glorious and uplifting anthem to getting over feeling down. For those fans who want the emotive, but raw, driven musical qualities in a song. But the best tracks on the EP, for all their compositional density, are first and foremost propelled by melody. “All My Time” being a perfect example of such.
“Heart vs. Head” has always signified two contrasting ways of reasoning, often leading to confusion, which in the end, is what this song is about. The crunch and jangle of the guitars, blended with the bang of the drums, renders this state of being perfectly. “Show and Tell” switches back to the gorgeously aching melody, and the alt-folk soundscapes the band do so well.
Psychopath Etiquette shines best, when they are able to simultaneously maintain pessimism and optimism, as well as joy and sorrow, in the words and tenor of the same song. Something they succeed at doing extensively on the closing track “When Anxieties Attack”. The words weave and flow atop a deceptively simple acoustic guitar part, before gradually expanding.
More than anything this EP succeeds because of its heartfelt sincerity and just how personal and intimate it feels at times. Talented singers and songwriters can reach into the depths of their experiences and make music that sounds both personal and universal.
With “Rough Draft”, Psychopath Etiquette have constructed a 6 track recording that anyone can relate to. The emotions held within, are common to just about every living soul who has suffered the afflictions of love and loss. When the music of Psychopath Etiquette hits your ears, you’re right back in the moment.