Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reviews:: The Human Soundtrack - Organs For Sale

I've never been to Newfoundland. That might seem a little strange for someone who's lived on the east coast for much of his life, but it's true. However, after reviewing some of the great bands coming from the Rock, I'm starting to think I should pay the fine folks over there a visit. Perhaps I should mention that today's review of The Human Soundtrack and their debut full length Organs For Sale brings the number of Newfoundland bands we've covered to exactly two (Hey Rosetta! being the first), but that's a minor detail.

As we're quickly discovering through our Great Canadian Mixtape series, there is plenty of talent on the independent music scene throughout Canada, and although we haven't started compiling our Newfoundland edition yet, what I've heard from The Human Soundtrack is a positive sign of what's to come. This four-piece from St. John's play a fairly dense, yet melodic folk-rock that races along at a fairly brisk pace and borrows elements from a palette of other styles (blues, pop, punk). I think after listening to Organs For Sale a few times yesterday, the thing that stood out to me was just how catchy and energetic it was. Three or four songs in I was bouncing away at my desk, happily going about my business, and if you saw un-bouncy the work I was doing was, you'd be as impressed as I was.

That isn't to say that the Soundtrack doesn't bring it on the lyrical tip. Album opener Yellin' For Milk starts with the line "Excuse me, could I interest you in some musical body parts" which I found quite striking even though I couldn't tell you exactly what it means. I think that's an accurate way to describe much of this album - the songs are quite vivid, and true to the band's name, they seem to cover a wide variety of topics common to the human experience (fear, loneliness, vanity, regret, hope). But I felt no need to try and distill the exact meaning of each song, my head was still bobbing regardless.

Frontman Steve Haley has a bit of a wail in his delivery, and that tends to give the songs an extra sense of urgency that works well with the quick tempo most of the songs use. The rollicking AllThoseStaringPeople is a good example of this, while the excellent guitar work on the song is one of the reasons why I think these guys would likely be a blast to see live. I feel the same way about Going Over (solid violin), Brainfood (builds from a slow march into a guitar strumming gallop), and The Other Beasts (opens with a solitary banjo before the band cranks up a danceable groove). The album is not all folk-rockouts though, the lovely Babies Are The New Pursedogs is a shimmery, mandolin and banjo-laced commentary on children as accessories that features Halifax's queen of quirky beauty Jenn Grant on backup vocals. I pretty much co-sign anything Jenn appears on anyway, but this is just a great song.

If I needed to get my nit picky pants on to assess Organs For Sale, the only thing I would mention is my common bugaboo of album length. I think it's a smidge long at fourteen songs and cutting it down might result in it being a bit more powerful, but that is indeed nitpicking. I can't really say that any of the songs felt extraneous, so I don't blame the band for including the songs they did. After all, that is pretty much the main point of this here piece of rambling - the fellas in The Human Soundtrack have a solid album here and hopefully it gets heard. Hopefully we've done our part (also expect to see them featured on our NFLD mixtape whenever we get to it), now you can do yours by checking them out.

myspace :: buy it


Posted at 10:15 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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