Humans - Humans (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Humans (2011)


Playing nice isn't in Humans' handbook. Throughout their five-track EP, they twist, turn, start, and stop suddenly, making their songs more like exercises than head-nodders, but in a good way.

Although their songs are choked full of discordant riffs that rapidly evolve and sometimes suddenly drop out, the band is more in the camp of Black Flag circa The Process of Weeding Out than mathcore. While mathcore can sometimes reduce itself to more showmanship and self-indulgence, Humans keep their riffs fast and sloppy, giving the changes of tempos a natural feel. The late-period Black Flag comparison is also applicable to the sound of the instruments themselves. While the music screeches and scratches, the guitars have that uniquely warm, soulful feeling that Greg Ginn was able to achieve despite the fact that the music never ceases its attack.

The vocals work surprisingly well with the music. Where a band creates music that rapidly shifts, sometimes vocals seem to be just dropped on top at random points. But, just as the instruments seem to shift together in a sonic mass, the group's vocals bark out when the band lashes out and drift awe when the music recedes.

Humans aren't going for "nice" music, so it can be difficult to say how "good" it is. It's not easy listening, but it is compelling. Instead of a random collection of adverse riffs, the band seems to bind a common thread for the chaos (which isn't so much chaos as it is meticulous mapping that is able to retain underlying soul). This roller coaster ride works quite well on the EP, but if they cut an LP, an expanded range of sounds might be beneficial.