The Human Project – Clarion Call (self-released, 2018)

The Human Project have been on the periphery of my radar for some time now. However, as can often be the case, I hadn’t gotten around to actually checking them out until now. So what do people need to know? The Human Project are from Leeds, and play fast, politically charged techy skate punk / melodic hardcore. Their ranks include current and ex-members of local scene luminaries Crazy Arm, Random Hand and Sounds of Swami. The press kit cites Propagandhi, Strung Out, Thrice and Reuben as their influences. Clarion Call (as far as I can make out from a casual look on’t’internet) is their second full length album, and follows Origins, which was released way back in 2013 through Bird Attack Records.

Typically when I hear or read the words “techy” or “technical” in the same sentence as “punk”, I have to suppress an involuntary urge for my toes to curl the opposite way than the way they were designed to do. At the risk of repeating myself to regular readers, I find overly “techy” stuff as dry as fuck and feel like it only has an appeal to guitar nerds. Overly twiddly, stop-start, jerky nonsense just leaves me cold, motherfucker. Just give me good honest shredding, mate, and I’ll be happy (well, as happy as I actually get at least).

So how do I feel about Clarion Call then? Thankfully it’s not in the realms of overly techy stuff. It feels very well constructed, in the main. The key sound elements here put mainly put me in mind of NOFX’s metallic edge circa White Trash Two Heebs & A Bean, RKL’s Riches To Rags and Propagandhi’s progressive thrash circa Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes, as well as their last three joints (Supporting Caste, Failed States and Victory Lap). I’ll also throw in a strong whiff of Good Riddance style guitar sound too. My main negative criticisms here are: the two minute plus intro to opening track Desperate Times which just reminds me of the self-indulgent, dreary naval gazing of Radiohead; and sixth track, Carrion, which also reminded me of Radiohead, only covering The Intense Humming of Evil from Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible. I can’t get behind that, mate.

What about the vocals? The vocals are clear, and (music to this Yorkshireman’s ear) have a distinct Yorkshire vowel sound. However, from a purely personal standpoint the vocal is generally ranged to high for my tastes, given that it isn’t delivered in a snotty fashion. Obviously other people won’t feel this way about it though. I much prefer it when we get to the bellowed sections, though. Lyrically, there’s a good deal being said here about class war, Brexit, and a decent amount of moaning about Tory shite-hawks, and the far right, which is something any correct-thinking human being can get behind, innit.

Overall impressions? I feel Clarion Call is not quite straight down the line enough for me to want to whack it on regularly. That’s probably my doubtless boring preference for three or four chord punk making itself known there, though. Personally speaking, as hinted at above, the vocal detracts a bit from this record for me, but yeah, not everyone is going to feel that way. Having said this there’s some pretty good jams on here, prime examples being The Rhetoric and Knocked for Six which deliver a solid one-two punch to the gut, and Pride Before the Fall. Special mention to the drummer, Matthew Colwell, who I think is incredible. Tony of Nurgle rating 7/10

You can stream the album on Skatepunkers

You can pick the album up on LP, CD or digital download from The Human Project webstore

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, recently returned to Yorkshire and residing in Leeds (after close to a decade living in exile in Croydon and South East London). He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also several years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - next event at Retro in Manchester on 07/09/2019. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, occasionally skateboarding, always exhausted, often reading books with maps in the front.

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