Review: Humanboy – I’m No Good At This

Minneapolis-based Humanboy aren’t the first outfit to use breakbeats with folk music and they certainly won’t be the last. Yet their debut record has an admirable freshness. I first heard them on the recent ‘I Can Count Volume 2’ compilation with their contribution, ‘Life In Color’, being the main highlight on a top quality collection. It’s a song where Brie Harthun’s emotive vocals are joined by acoustic guitar and those aforementioned breakbeats, with the track’s strengths being its warmth and melody.

Humanboy Album Cover

‘Life In Color’ is sensibly included on their first album but it’s joined by many other fine songs too. The instrumental ‘Pond’ is reminiscent of the intricate guitar work of Dif Juz and ‘Catfish?’ finishes with a Kraftwerkian flourish. Meanwhile, ‘Sleepwalking’ successfully manages to find cohesion from three distinct layers of music whilst ‘Something Familiar’ sounds like The Notwist with a female singer. Not too surprisingly, the formula doesn’t always work; ‘Look Away’, for instance, seems to have too many ideas going on at the same time and ends up sounding confused. Yet this is an adventurous album which – from its complex origins – successfully conveys its message to the heart as well as the head.

Web Sites:
Humanboy MySpace
Buy the CD from CD Baby

Further Listening:
The Notwist


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