Weird Science is one thing but ‘Awesome Science’ is another matter all together, explosions and chemical reactions are badass and Humanfly are too. Having haunted the UK for the past 13 years in one way or another, Humanfly have become an institution in their own right. Brothers Sutcliffe have produced catchy riffs, massive grooves and clutch-like power in the UK.
Their latest 2013 offering aptly named ‘Awesome Science’ goes to show that on top of their considerable back catalogue, they can still turf out mammoth-sounding records. ‘Awesome Science’ itself floats in with a stuffy mix of clean guitars and modern-day, new age prog-rock freak-outs. At points during the albums opening track, ‘Golden Arrows’, the guitar with syncopated rhythms almost has hints of Battles whilst being drowned in a sea of Orange amp reverb and delay.
Flooding in with mystic synth sounds that sound like King Crimson and Pink Floyd’s bastard child is ‘A Majestic Story’, this builds gently to a very ‘Cave-In’ style minor chord blast-off. Incorporated within the rich and somewhat unpredictable vocals that explain how we are all children of the stars, good point, again, ‘Awesome Science’. Towards the middle parts of this we are treated to what Humanfly are most loved for, larger than earth riffs that disintegrate into Sabotage-era Sabbath boogies.
‘The Apple That Never Fell’ is up next with more retro synth effects that evolve gently into modulated guitar lines with a bass line that blends into a slightly off-sync drum and guitar progression. Robert Fripp would be proud. The majority of this track sounds like two dragons fighting in space. After the oil is burnt in the track, a Humanfly breakdown occurs. For those of you that have never experienced one of these, it should be religion. The end of this track would work well in a film about Charles Manson and Sharon Tate’s one-off date.
Jazz hi-hats bring in the next slice of the ’Awesome Science’ cake, here we can hear the John Sutcliffe guitar work at its best, not only does he possess some of the finest chops for Police style patterns but he also has the technique to actually make it interesting and different. Not only that but the drumming that bellows out around the bass grooves are enough to make Miles Davis spin in his tiny little coffin. Building up with wah pedals and screeching guitars, the chorus and middle-eights would normally crash and burn, adding a drum break-down that sounds like a broken microphone is nothing short of excellence.
‘The Amour Of Science’ is when Humanfly bolt in their Black Flag and Fu Manchu brains and get back to a more familiar sound, Early-Humanfly. Jumping between Math-rock and Post-rock with a large injection of alternative rock and progressive-doom, Humanfly are not messing around when it comes to adding in atmospheric, chilled blasts either. All packaged into a 15 minute soundscape.
Closing a record such as ‘Awesome Science’ is always going to be a difficult task in order to do the recorded monolith justice. The last track titled, ‘Frozen In Time, Billions Of Light Years Away’ is a very fitting piece that features some of Humanfly’s best musicianship in its length intro that then begins a Starless and Bible Black style turnaround. The bass begins its lumbering turn first followed by incessant guitar picking.
A thunderous riff begins to drag the album through hyperspace and into a solo that sounds like Hendrix being from billions of light years ago. As the track gains more momentum, the riff intensifies and forces the record to gradually shut down with a few more space noises to finish off.
Scribed by: Sam Orr