Absinthe Rose / H.U.M.A.N.W.I.N.E. - Split (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Absinthe Rose / H.U.M.A.N.W.I.N.E.

Split (2010)

Rodent Popsicle

Acoustic balladeer Absinthe Rose joins New England eclectic collective H.U.M.A.N.W.I.N.E. on this punk-by-association split on Rodent Popsicle Records.

While Kimbo Rose was mostly solo on her previous release, Digging Ditches and Escaping Holes, she's joined here by Toxic Narcotic/Mouth Sewn Shut members here for a sound that's both more animated and whole, moving each song forth with an energy and dynamic previously not heard. The additions of a snapping drum beat and steady rolling bass help transform what was an occasionally tepid solo acoustic engagement into what more closely resembles a folk-punk–or at least acoustic punk–ensemble. Rose's voice is soulful and full, with a slight Southern curl belying her Oregonian roots. On "Upon a Drift", she sings wistfully: "When you have a closet of skeletons / And you wonder how you got them all in / Piled high and everlasting / And when you're done, there's more than you began."

At first I thought H.U.M.A.N.W.I.N.E. was a dumb name. Then I thought maybe it was antithesis of white whine/black wine/red wine and all the divisions between them and thought it was kind of cool. Then I found out it's actually an acronym for Humans Underground Making Anagrams Nightly While Imperial Not-Mes Enslave. Then I thought it was dumb again.

Their music is kind of like a less brassy and ostentatious World/Inferno Friendship Society, with cello, violin and bass fiddle alongside the standard drum-and-guitar rock setup. Actually, the W/IFS comparison isn't good at all. H.U.M.A.N.W.I.N.E. is dark, sparse and cavernous. They actually sound more like something along the lines of Murder by Death, with more of an anarcho slant...and a female singer.

While H.U.M.A.N.W.I.N.E. doesn't do a lot for me on an enjoyment level, at least they're introducing new styles to the legions of punx who only listen to both types of music: punk and hardcore. Absinthe Rose delivers the best cuts of the split here, a clear step up from the slow acoustic tunes of Digging Ditches and Escaping Holes.