Saturday, August 16, 2008

Human Adult Band – Impotent & Filthy [Abandon Ship]

Looking over Abandon Ship’s pretty much impeccable discography; you’ll find that they specialize in sounds that go pretty easy on your ears. When I first popped this tape in way back when, I found it to be a surprising, though pleasant, punch in the face. According to the j-card, Impotent & Filthy was recorded live in Philadelphia (at a place called the Big Pink) on April Fool’s day two years ago. Don’t know why the recording sat on the shelf so long but I’m grateful it’s now been given a cozy cassette home.
The first track, “Schizophrenics Control the Weather”, is a loping, minimal affair. The piece consists of an incomprehensibly muffled vocalist dueling in slow-motion with off-kilter guitars/various other soundmakers refereed by mid tempo drums. In the final moments, everything crashes together in a combustible climax without betraying the track’s initial sleepiness. The real jewel of the tape comes next.
“Scurvy Seaman” is fucking awesome. The track reminds me of the best stuff the Jesus Lizard put out which is a compliment I don’t dispense lightly, or often, for that matter. Human Adult Band have the fiery caveman clatter down this is the tape’s best example. Things are way uptempo in comparison to “Schizophrenics…” and the vocals and instruments take lacerating turns rebelling against the relentless monster of a groove set forth by the drummer. If I ever made one of those top singles of the year list, this one would make the cut no doubt.
On the B-side, “Hoops”, a song “about playing basketball” apparently, gets things rolling. I’m a bit lost how the song relates to basketball though it has an excellent subliminal creep factor like a number of NBAers. The guitar provides a constant quiver of feedback casting an uneasy light over everything else. The electronics are used perfectly here, the moments of strange squelch are placed flawlessly. You can almost dance to the rather mellow, “Deep South”, with its cyclical rhythms and unintelligible but groovy vocal phrases. And “Hot Hands” closes the tape like a thundercloud—heavy, unhurried and looming. That is, except for a tremendous burst of crumbling noise at the end.
The tape comes very professionally done as is Abandon Ship’s style, a double-sided j-card and a labeled tape. Abandon Ship still has copies in stock at their everyday low price, but I should also mention the insane blowout sale their having right now apparently to make some room for upcoming vinyl releases. Buy one 7inch get two releases free anyone?

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