Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Album Review: Clarion Call by The Human Project (by Brett Coomer)

2018 has been an amazing year for me. Attending MPF, seeing Propagandhi twice, being introduced to a ton of new bands, and getting married are just some of the highlights. Since becoming friends with Colin and Emma two years ago I am happy to say that the amount and variety of music that Robyn and I get exposed to has increased exponentially. Not being familiar with The Human Project before this year, Robyn ordered me to listen to them after hearing the other members of CPRW hyping up the new album.

The Leeds band are known for playing fast melodic punk with politically-charged lyrics so I was quite surprised I hadn’t heard of them before, but not at all surprised at how much I loved what I heard. It was love at first listen and I immediately added their debut album Origins to my library. Fast forward a couple months and the wait was over, Clarion Call was released into the world.

Defined as a strongly expressed demand or request for action (thanks Google), Clarion Call is the perfect title for this album which feels like the band letting out their frustrations at the world’s current socio-political environment. There are so many moments that make you want to get up, raise your fist in the air and yell along to the lyrics. The band have been able to aptly articulate what a lot of people around the world, and especially in Britain, must be feeling using eleven songs over thirty-one minutes.

The album kicks things off with some quiet piano and clean guitar, describing a bleak world not too far from the one we live in right now, questioning the role we’ve all played in getting there. Desperate Times builds anticipation and provides a taste of what’s to come with a furious final minute before pick sliding into the next song. Desperate Measures feels like it’s directed at the apathetic and complacent people who sit back and watch injustices happen while critiquing anyone who stands up against it. That One Percent and The Rhetoric take aim at the rich politicians and businessmen who control so much of how the world operates, but only care about the bottom line regardless of the cost. After four political tracks, Knocked for Six is a more personal song about getting back up after being knocked down by an ending relationship. It provides a break from the political theme and features some great hooks and an impressive breakdown.

With its atmospheric interlude, Carrion provides a short opportunity to breathe before cranking up the energy level again with What We Always Do, which drives home the message that we shouldn’t sit back or give up, but continue to push for the change we want to see in the world in spite of all opposition. The next two tracks, Blame and Pride Before a Fall, offer more personal touches to the album with the latter song dealing with empathy towards other human beings. Everyone lives in the same world but we all experience it differently and you can’t know what somebody is feeling regardless of their outward appearance or social status.

A Debt to Society features some excellent guitar work with great melodies and a catchy chorus, describing the current state of the world where the decisions made by the controlling minority to further their goals are sold to society as selflessness and as being the best for everyone. Clarion Call brings the album to a close with an epic four + minute challenge to everyone listening to come together and fight for a world that benefits us all rather than a select few. The song asks the question “Are we still dangerous?” and if inspiration is taken from the album as a whole, the answer is a resounding yes.

The production on this album is top notch, highlighting the technical aptitude of all the band members and letting every aspect of the band shine through equally. The vocal harmonies, dual guitars, driving bass, and hard-hitting drums are all on point. Clarion Call is a bit more polished compared to Origins, but not to the detriment of the overall sound and it definitely fits in with the best of the genre. This album should serve as a blueprint for melodic skate-punk albums to come.

2016 brought us The Revenge of The Fifth and Remember Death, 2017 gave us Victory Lap and Bonsai Mammoth and with so many great releases this year already, I can safely say Clarion Call will make a few top ten lists including mine. If you’re a fan of Mute, This Is a Standoff, Belvedere and melodic punk rock in general this is a must have album. And if you have the chance to catch them live – do it!

Buy Clarion Call here:

Like The Human Project here:

This review was written by Brett Coomer.

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