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Human Impact: Human Impact

This album came out in mid-March, right when the pandemic sent me home from work for what remains an uncertain amount of time. Although I listened to the album and made a few notes toward a review, I had a hard time connecting to it and decided to set it aside. The music was interesting and insightful, but I found it a bit too grating and despairing, not exactly what I was looking for at that moment. Now that things have settled down a little, I wanted to go back to the album and give it another listen. I still find the album grating and despairing, but behind that I discovered that it is also thoughtful and hopeful. It mixes politics with hope in ways that could help salvage a crazy year like 2020.

Human Impact is made up of four important noise rock musicians: Chris Spencer (Unsane); Chris Pravdica (Swans, Xiu Xiu), Jim Coleman (Cop Shoot Cop) and Phil Puleo (Cop Shoot Cop, Swans). Given the impact of those bands, I suppose Human Impact could rightly be called a supergroup. For those who aren’t sure who any of these guys are, you’re probably not alone. Even though all these guys have been active for years, their style honestly won’t appeal to everyone, especially not to casual listeners. If you’re not sure noise rock is for you, maybe look up some of the other bands listed above and see what you think before diving into this album.

If you are curious about this album, all I can say is that Human Impact’s sound is hard to describe. The band clearly has a hardcore quality to it, but it’s a style of hardcore that blends the intensity of punk rock with the strange, sometimes wild, impact of noise rock. The result is something that cannot be captured by a simple label. You could call it noise punk or you could just simply call it the bleak soundtrack of our times. The overall sound of the band is strong and intense, but the vocals may require some adjustment. Rather than sing his lines, Chris Spencer declaims them in ways that are rhythmic, intense, angry, and despairing. When I really paid attention to the vocals, I heard both an appeal to pay attention to our current world and to try and figure out what to do about it. Put another way, Spencer isn’t just pointing out the obvious. Everything might be crumbling around us, but there’s still reason to hope.

If you want to get a decent sense of the band, check out “November” and then maybe slide into “Portrait.” “This Dead Sea” was also solid. I don’t recommend “Relax” because it’s no more relaxing than the rest of the album. Maybe that’s the point.

Track Listing:
1. November
2. E605
3. Protester
4. Portrait
5. Respirator
6. Cause
7. Consequences
8. Relax
9. Unstable
10. This Dead Sea

Added: September 5th 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Label Page
Hits: 655
Language: english

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