Album Reviews

The Human Value – Push And Pull

(Big Deal) UK release date: 1 October 2007


Sometimes the music industry merry-go-round passes bands a few times when they really ought to have hopped on it first time round. Take NYC rockers The Human Value.

Their self-titled debut album was a rough gem, first surfacing in the autumn of 2005. It registered barely a blip on the industry’s radar. It would be almost another year before it got a UK release.

At that time they toured the backholes of the country and Europe but the million dollar cheque and Cadillac were nowhere to be seen. This writer recalls one dour Camden night where there were more bar staff than punters at the band’s headline show.

This time round things are looking up with the more expansive Push And Pull. This is for those who like their riffs dirty, droney and depraved – think Queens of the Stone Age with Polly Harvey, Karen O and VV taking guest spots.

That’s maybe a little unkind on front woman Turu, who embodies the finer qualities of said few, keeping the album spinning on an inverted axis by juxtaposing feral howls with narcotic hollers.

It bleeds dark souls from these nocturnal creatures, seemingly bred from dangerous liaisons, broken hearts and lonely nights. It swaggers to life with the plough through Pleasant Town, taking a turn for the sinister on Pretty Mouth’s hark back to Bleach era Nirvana. I Don’t Care eases up a little with its noodley harmonies like a finger tracing the rim of a wine glass.

Two songs return reworked from the first album. Complications No 2 has now collapsed from a chugging Cramps-styled number into a wonderful crushed ballad operating under a whirring drone. Parts goes the opposite way, morphing from a tender blues ballad between Turu and guitarist / bassist Hiram Fleites into a fast paced post punk anthem.

As the album progresses it feels like you’ve been watching them in an all night bar and the haze that folllows takes effect for the psychedelic stoner rhythms on Home Is Not Real. A whirlpool of tom thumps, syrupy guitars and synth signals the Deep Blue, whilst the nauseous title track wraps things up as THV slip around on their own doomy merry-go-round.

Where their first album was a long hard suck on a butt end, Push And Pull is twenty more smokes down the line, precisely at the moment it is flicked away, the smoke exhaled and a bitter tongue is washed down with more whiskey.


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