"Humansize" is a tight and unique mix of no-wave guitar madness, dreamy indiepop melodies, hardcore aggression and danceable post-punk rhythms. Haunting female vocals, sometimes angry, sometimes heavenly, wash over shards of guitar noise and shuddering drums, like if the girls from the B-52s were invited to sing with the one band that wants to save the world with its noise.
"Amongst the press release notes and other guff that usually accompanies these discs was a reference to post-rock. Hmm? Well, maybe if I added the word "punk" in combination with both "post" and "rock", I'd be moving somewhat closer to the truth. Alternatively I could try to embrace terms such as "no wave" and "noise pop" in a vague attempt to move my sorry butt into the 21st Century. This is harsh abrasive stuff from Finland's Echo is Your Love, employing jagged, discordant guitars in an effort to complement their tribal, energy-ball of a singer.
It is probably fair to say that vocals are the first thing to strike you about this record. Lead singer Nea lurches from Siouxsie mode to Frank Chickens territory, occasionally veering dangerously close to tuneful. She must gargle half a cup of crushed glass before perfecting some of these yelps. The rest of the band fall dutifully in behind in support of whatever she's doing. And it works. Strangely and unpredictably these 11 songs can weave their own little effect on you. If Xmal Deutschland covered Teardrop Explodes' Reward in the style of The Fire Engines it may have sounded something like Three Ropes. (Cough) Ahem, (I think I promised not to do those any more?) Sorry Brendan.
I have the feeling John Peel might have enjoyed Echo Is Your Love. Remembering his delight for bands such as Shonen Knife, I can easily imagine this stuff punctuating one of his shows. I'm also conscious of the fact that is the second time I've mentioned a Japanese band and it's true there is something far eastern about the music on Humansize. The lyrics too appear as though they could have been translated to English from Japanese.
"A minor flirt
I'm with the Wolves again
No loving arms can reach me...
My face, your fist
A lesson I can't miss"
Whilst occasionally these lyrics venture into surrealist territory, for the most part they appear darkly autobiographical. So while the music tends to be caustic and angry, the occasional shifts into melodic mode prove quite effective. There is actually some decent songwriting on offer here and it helps having a relatively hard-hitting message behind it.
I believe Humansize to be Echo is Your Love's fourth LP. It comes in a gatefold digi with lyrics and a beautiful photo of a girl with her hand over her eyes (Nea?). I just want to put my arm around her shoulder.