wed 20/03/2019

CD: Human Don't Be Angry - Human Don't Be Angry | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Human Don't Be Angry - Human Don't Be Angry

CD: Human Don't Be Angry - Human Don't Be Angry

New semi-instrumental direction for Malcolm Middleton

Futile perhaps, but Human, Don't Be Angry

As probably befits the title, when the words “human, don’t be angry” are spoken for the first time on the Chemikal Underground release of the same name the voice they emerge in is anything but. Repeated over a dreamy guitar riff rendered otherworldly under a synthesised beat, ostensibly male and female robotic voices sound conciliatory, confused, commanding.

The final voice, as the track ends, slows and fades out as if dependent on a flattened AA battery or, more poignantly, recognising the central theme as a lesson in futility.

Better known for a more straightforward style of arch, acoustic songwriting, Falkirk miserabilist Malcolm Middleton has made no secret of just who is behind the curious new moniker - apparently, a butchered translation of the German version of the board game Frustration. It’s as good a name as any to describe a predominantly instrumental project which, although slipping in such trademark Middleton titles as “Getting Better (At Feeling Like Shit)” seems to aim for something a little more playful with its clever instrumental loops and flourishes. “1985” in particular is relentlessly pretty behind a percussive vocal “hah” noise, while more ambient tracks such as “The Missing Plutonium” and “After the Pleasuredome” have a certain atmospheric listenability to them which even those who usually put lyrics first will find compelling. Believe me, I know - I’m one of them.

Although the vocals, when they do appear, are unmistakably Middleton’s, his usual wry observations are beside the point of the lush arrangement of “Askliipio” or the sonic poetry that is “Monologue: River”. In fact when best used - as a repeated, claustrophobic refrain on “First Person Singular” which, when you think about it changes the meaning of the song entirely - they add another layer to music which already sounds as if it could be coming straight from the composer’s brain. It might not be his most accessible, but perhaps Human Don’t Be Angry is the album Middleton has had trapped in him all this time.

In the absence of any HBDA video, enjoy one of Middleton's more cheerful numbers below.


Repeated over a dreamy guitar riff rendered otherworldly under a synthesised beat, ostensibly male and female robotic voices sound conciliatory, confused, commanding

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Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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