Human Impact as a band are a thrilling prospect, including members of bands who collectively take up a lot of space in my music collection. They are Chris Spencer (Unsane, UXO) Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop) Chris Pravdica (Swans, Xiu Xiu) and Phil Puleo (Cop Shoot Cop, Swans). The self titled album is released through the unwavering beacon of musical highlight Ipecac Records.
So is the resultant album commensurate with the collective talent on show here? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it is of a quality I would hope for, with depth and clout, but also no, because the release sounds like more than the sum of its parts, and it stands on its own feet without a reliance on its heritage.
There are suggestions of the unbridled rawness you world expect from Unsane though it never dominates. The rhythmic powerhouse of the Swans at their most muscular is present, but rather than relying on repetition and bludgeoning to drive the material home, Human Impact is more hook laden and structured. I hear a likeness to Cop Shoot Cop at times but also Killing Joke (Prospector) and even latter day Neurosis are brought to mind in some of the structures and anthemic choruses. Couple all the above with some top drawer songwriting and I can assure you that this is an album worthy of your time and attention.
‘E605’ is a perfect example, it is menacing, assured and powerful but that power is harnessed and directed. The sound is rounded and full-bodied (it sounds like I’m reviewing a wine), fleshed out with synths that accentuate the catchiness of the track. ‘Consequences’ is another highlight, with a more urgent tempo and a bass that has a hint of funk. Album opener ’November’ has a suggestion of Tool about it without losing its own sense of identity. There are elements of goth tinged new wave (Portrait) and industrial rock (Protester) too but the album never feels scattered or fractured. Closer ‘This Dead Sea’ has a solid and insistent wallop and ends the album on an urgent high note.
this is an album worthy of your time and attention
I get the overall impression that Human Impact is understated, and quite understandably. The band has nothing to prove by being the loudest, the heaviest, the most raw. All of those elements are there, but because they belong and they are part of the Human Impact experience, but they are glued together with a solidity and panache that give the album depth and longevity.