Humans The Size Of Microphones – Human Crop Circles

cover_RingMasterReview

Human Crop Circles is an album which just highlights how difficult it is to be noticed in the music scene. Released by SuperFire Records in conjunction with De Graanrepubliek, the album comes from Humans The Size Of Microphones, a British hardcore/noise rock band around in the first years of this new century. Their reputation and presence did not carry too far outside of the South coast area of the UK it is fair to say and maybe without any expectations of success at some point called it a day, a disbandment we are assuming as no search came up with anything active from the band or, to be honest, about them at all. As Human Crop Circles quickly reveals, this is a crying shame as its songs simply provide one furiously thrilling and rousing incitement of ears and imagination.

At one point slated to do a split with Electric Wizard, it is hard to imagine that HTSOM did not make some major impressions on someone somewhere. An early self-released five-track demo did appear in 2002, though it too probably got lost in the mists of criminal neglect. Recorded by the band’s drummer John T Baptist in his own studio, where the likes of Electric Wizard, No, Facel Vega, Hunting Lodge, and Field Boss have also recorded, Human Crop Circles has thankfully been uncaged to right some wrongs and introduce a new wealth of ears to the rather wonderful and mercurial tempest of sound that is Humans The Size Of Microphones.

The album bursts into life with Pissing Like A Racehorse where climactic guitars and tenacious rhythms crowd ears for an incendiary start which is soon an even more enjoyably volatile affair as vocals cries and a bedlamic character expose themselves in the mix. The early urgency settles a touch without defusing the now psychotic maelstrom and air of the song, but rises again as seriously addictive bass and guitar enterprise casts a web of sonic psychosis which in turn breeds greater ferocity in the noise punk tempest. It is glorious stuff, like a mix of Melvins, Neurosis, Halfling’s Leaf, and Dope Body; the kind of comparisons which occur often across the release.

The brilliant start is as potently backed up by No One Gets Out Of Here Alive, another magnetic slice of noise imagination and punk attitude as raw and seductive as it is magnetically and antagonistically inflamed. From the first pair of sonically intricate yet bullishly demanding songs alone it is hard to know how the band escaped attention but equally just an example of so many other stories of now lost to the world special bands.

The post-hardcore textured Middle England (Eats it’s Young) steps up next, its initial emotive wash the prelude to a tantalising weave of mystique soaked grooves and bolshie yet anthemic group vocal tempting amidst muscularly tenacious rhythms and mesmeric sonic devilment. It is more than a match for the already established pinnacles of the album and almost equalled by the following flirtatious seducing shared by The Smell of Wet Leaves. Sludgy and predatory but also alive with veins of sultry melodic grooving, the track shares an early dark and catchy lure which subsequently gets turned on its head by caustic energy and creative ferocity before re-establishing itself in another smouldering passage within the eventful encounter. Without quite having the final spark to turn personal tastes lusty, the track still leaves pleasure full in its presence before being over shadowed by the outstanding Fucking Tsunami.

The fifth track just grips and thrills ears from its first bestial bassline and swiping rumble of beats; bass and drums becoming puppeteer of body and passions whilst leading both into the concussive and hellacious exploits of the song’s full body and heart. The sonic and emotive turbulence is exhausting and breath-taking, as too the twisted melodic resourcefulness which lines every twist in the track’s dervish like shuffle. As in all songs, drama comes with every moment and unpredictable turn too; here devilishly enhancing the punk meets post punk meets noise rock triumph of the song. The bass and rhythmic unity of James Hasbeen and Baptist respectively ensures the track has instincts involved, the almost corrosive sonic endeavour of guitarist Pete Sake (all names as fun as the sounds fair to say) just reinforcing the persuasion.

The final quintet of tracks come from that aforementioned demo, each a harsher and more abrasive proposal but all carrying the inventive and multi-flavoured traits that give character to all tracks. Not Exactly Rocket Science is a rousing affair of aurally poisonous punk rock whilst Limitless Stupidity is an insatiable deluge of barbarous rhythms aligned to hostility flamed riffs and vocals further blessed with spicy hooks. The pair ensures ears and appetite continue to be well fed though maybe not as dramatically as the outstanding sonic invasion of I See The World Through Rose Coloured Testicles, an uncompromising and bewitching instrumental that just gets the tongue licking lips.

The pair of Dying For An Audience and Not In Our Name bring the album to a close; the first a fibrous net of riffs and acidic grooves which wraps ears before closing ranks for another bruising and inhospitable storm of hardcore whilst its successor with matching sonic antipathy, spews a tangle of punk hooks and spiky grooves around a battlefield of rhythms. With vocals just as agreeably rancorous, the duo provides a fine end to a great and welcome surprise introduction to a band we had no idea existed.

Maybe they will again as Human Crop Circles invades more and more ears but even if that optimistic hope is not realised, punk and noise rock enthusiasts need to have Humans The Size Of Microphones somewhere in their historical landscapes.

Human Crop Circles is out now via SuperFi / De Graanrepubliek and available @ http://superfirecords.bandcamp.com/album/human-crop-circles-lp or https://graanrepubliekrecords.bandcamp.com/album/human-crop-circles

Pete RingMaster 08/04/2016

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