Travis Egedy, who performs and records as Pictureplane, has been credited with coining the deeply mocked term “witch house,” but on his new album, Thee Physical, he shows enough personality to stand out from the faceless swath of laptop auteurs. Egedy splices house-music thump and Atari-console bloops with melodies that split the difference between Depeche Mode and Jodeci for icy, snapping tracks that only occasionally overshoot their mark and turn into kitsch. (The chopped-up hip-hop vocal samples on “Body Mod” bring to mind something that would fit on a late-’90s action-movie soundtrack alongside The Crystal Method.)
As a songwriter and vocalist, Egedy often brings to mind polymaths like Mike Patton or Craig Wedren. Though he hasn’t shown their vocal range, he shares a knack for re-imagining classic R&B and AM pop hooks through his own idiosyncratic prism, and for grafting lush, delicate vocals onto artfully skewed song-structures. Though the music often suggests a frozen remove, Egedy’s voice conveys a need to connect, which smartly reinforces the album’s lyrical themes of feeling isolated and disconnected from the physical self.