Tim Nordwind from [lastfm]OK Go[/lastfm] looks beyond clever videos and sprightly indie rock into the kaleidoscopic world of synth pop on Human Beings. Drum machines anchor acoustic guitar strums as sci-fi melodies billow Smith’s airy vocals in this hit-or-miss debut EP.
Stream the EP in full below via the band’s Soundcloud
The first two tracks, “That Ain’t Right” and “Don’t Go,” introduce Human Beings with a menagerie of electro-acoustic elements that work well together. Nordwind’s guitar on “That Ain’t Right” will sate [lastfm]Ok Go[/lastfm] go fans with its simple progression and upbeat rhythm, though Smith’s vocals recall early 80’s post-punk in their reverb-drenched delivery. “Don’t Go” features Smith at her coffeehouse best – the melodies are warm, jazz-inflected, and sung with a hint of attitude that complements the otherwise sugary instrumentation. The chugging, mind-range bass line recalls [lastfm]Joy Division[/lastfm] with none of the melodrama, instead providing a melodic counterweight to the mechanical drum line and lofty synths.
“Perfect Picture” is the first misstep on Human Beings. Utilizing rote drum rhythms, bottom-of-the-barrel synth presetsn and an uninspired series of arpeggios, the song mirrors the droll synth pop of the 80’s that would be accompanied by hideous hairstyles and glittery blazers on MTV. “Human Beings” escapes this formula with a gothic-surf style that provides a welcome strut “Picture” lacked. “Animal” features another fierce bassline, this time accented with overjoyed backing vocals perfect for fist-pumping and hair-thrashing. [lastfm]PYYRAMIDS[/lastfm] dig post-punk, but this EP did not come out in the 80s nor the recent resurgence of the genre that dominated indie pop five years ago (see [lastfm]Interpol[/lastfm], [lastfm]Metric[/lastfm], et al). As a result, Human Beings feels outdated, as if [lastfm]PYYRAMIDS[/lastfm] missed the memo that the hip musical focus of today is on 90’s alternative.
[lastfm]PYYRAMIDS[/lastfm] – Human Beings EP
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