Humans Bow Down – A Mirror (CD)

Indie-rock has as of late not been the flavor du jour of your average band, so when a band like Humans Bow Down come forth with their Radiohead and Middle Eastern influences, the result is surprisingly refreshing. The impressive thing about Humans Bow Down is their ability to go and fill to the brim a five minute plus track, allowing for both the track to incorporate a common thread throughout as well as modifying the track enough to allow for a continually lively track. The arrangements on “It’s On You” allow for a shuffling drum beat to mesh with a jangly guitar and Billy Corgan-esque vocals perfect, making for a radio-friendly, Interpol-reminiscent track. The extended bridge on “It’s On You” allows for the virtuosity of the band to shine, and the intensity that marks the beginning of “Black Snakes” is deceptive, vascillating between the chunky guitar of the chorus and the more introspective guitar work that immediately proceeds the opening.

Even though this disc clocks in at nearly 35 minutes, the tracks slip by as if so many grains of sand. “Black Snakes” looks back to their Radiohead influence, but couples that with a mixture of psychedelic and emo music, being pushed forward by the thick, sinewy bass lines of Matt. The continual building up of tension and dissipating it the next moment is Humans Bow Down’s forte; these crests and troughs will drag listeners happily to their demise in the deep. The sing-song melodies espoused in “Going Through The Motion” opens up to a guitar line that feels alien on the track; this section is rather a tempest that builds up at different times during the track. To fit into this track as Chris Wolfe’s drums do would be a disservice to what is actually an extraordinarily dense track.

The anti-penultimate track on “A Mirror” is on the verge of being the cutting-edge in terms of road songs, but the wide-spread guitar riffs are cut down before they can l dominate the track. The fuzz that exists at the periphery of the track also indicates another aborted movement; “Salton” could just as easily be a synth-pop/shoegazer hit. Humans Bow Down don’t let themselves be classified in a certain genre and boldly go forth with their own distinctive style. Seamlessly mixing together the aforementioned Corgan vocals with 70s arena-rock guitar licks for “To Know Is To Trust”, Humans Bow Down have been able throughout this EP to dominate their influences to such a degree that what one is hearing on “A Mirror” is revolutionary – it is purely Humans Bow Down’s own style, unstymied by convention.

Top Track: To Know Is To Trust

Rating: 6.6/10

Humans Bow Down – A Mirror

Humans Bow Down – A Mirror / 2004 Phratry Records / 8 Tracks / http://www.humansbowdown.com / http://www.phratryrecords.com / Reviewed 14 February 2005

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