Release Date: September 10, 2021 Genre: Indie Rock, Pop Punk, Emo
Label: Hopeless Records
Deanna Belos, better known professionally as Sincere Engineer, has returned with her sophomore album, Bless My Psyche. It marks her first release with Hopeless Records and is the follow-up to her attention-grabbing debut album, Rhombithian (2017). The eleven-track album is chock-full of fast-paced, infectious, and the occasional slower numbers that amalgamate indie rock, emo, and mid-west pop-punk. Sincere Engineer's Bless My Psyche was recorded in her hometown of Chicago during the pandemic and once again produced alongside long-time collaborator Matt Jordan (You Blew It!, Forrest, Kittyhawk).
Bless My Psyche opens with the blistering lead single, "Trust Me." The track tackles the first of many immensely personal topics on the album. This particular one is about being lost in a web of your own mistakes. Following is the album's shortest track, "Tourniquet," which Belos sings about self-sabotage. The song takes a step down from the opening number, with a more indie-rock approach to the songwriting. "Out of Reach" slows things down a bit, introducing what sounds like an organ in the background -a pleasant surprise. Essentially, "Out of Reach" is a punk power ballad with Belos singing about isolation and fear of missing out. A couple of things we all have been experiencing this last year and a half. The track was influenced by a time in the middle of a polar vortex in Chicago, Belos went through a drive-thru for coffee, only to realize her car window wouldn't roll down as it was frozen shut.
One of the biggest song highlights on Bless My Psyche is the single "Recluse In The Making," a track about struggling to make life in the few hours you have after work all day with every ounce of your motivation disappearing. There's a lot of people after these last year a half that this song title might catch their eye and go, "me too." Additionally, Belos released an accompanying music video heavily inspired by The Sims. "Hurricane of Misery" sees Sincere Engineer branch into a fast-paced punk number that showcases one of many of its infectious choruses -something Sincere Engineer has going for them since Rhombithian. "Coming In Last" is a sure single in the future. It's a melodic pop-punk number driven by its clear bass line, bold guitar riffs, and memorable chorus.
The penultimate track, "Dragged Across The Finish Line," tackles two subjects in one. 1. Not letting the successes of others demotivate you, and 2. About recognizing that sometimes you may need the help of your friends and sometimes they may need your help too. The track blends a little bit of every genre into it, and additionally, near the end of the song incorporates some vocal effects to push Belos' emotive voice even further. The album closes out with the sombre title track, "Bless My Psyche." The final song feels like an appropriate closing number as the first strum of the guitar is played. It's an acoustic number shrined in reverb -giving off the assumption it was recorded in a smaller empty room. Maybe this will be something that will always close out a Sincere Engineer record?
Deanna Belos is a must-watch musician. Additionally, she's an extraordinary singer-songwriter, and it shows once again on Bless My Psyche. The forthcoming album displays maturity in every aspect, but notably in songwriting and the push forward sonically. Belos lays out her psyche into song and continues to write open, sincere, and personal songs that leave her thoughts directly into the music. Once again, Belos, intending to write an album that certainly needs to be enjoyed the most in a full-crowded venue with like-minded people belting the words at the top of their lungs. The album is in no way depressing with its topics of everyday failures, insecurity, anxiety, to name a few. While it does have its shades of melancholy spread through tracks one through eleven, nevertheless, with its blend of indie rock, emo, and mid-west pop-punk, Sincere Engineer tackles these topics with an upbeat, positive approach on the darker sides of life.