HUMAN GROWTH - Reflex - 2021 | ALBUM REVIEW
Straight off the bat, Human Growth's debut album starts at a pace and keeps it up the length of the nine-track effort that makes up 'Reflex.'
Born out of a mixture of time constraints and the pandemic's unknown nature, 'English' opens the collection from these Danish-based rockers that were put together in just three-months towards the end of 2020. The traditional drumstick count-in sets the barrel rolling, but seeing that the lead vocalist, Peter Slusarski, is also listed on the drums is the first intriguing break in the convention that I crave; the second is that they utilise two drummers, each with a complete kit! The upbeat track tells the tale of moving to a foreign land 'where nobody speaks English' and 'keep the sun out, block out the light' sounds very much like the North where at the height of Summer has almost total daylight. Next, you'll notice on 'Mr. Socks' is a different lead vocalist to the previous track; it's a theme that spans the whole album. The raspier voice of David Slusarski takes over from his brother Peter at the mic while crisscrossing his primary duties on guitar with fellow guitarist David Erős on this harried love story. 'Buggin' is my favourite song on the whole album, a slight Rockabilly vibe here, but the rock heavily overpowers the 'billy. It gets the bugs moving in my dance pants; that is all that matters, is it not?
From left to right
Mathias Lyzell (Drums), David Erős (Guitar), Péter Berke (Bass), David Slusarski (Guitar/Vocals), Peter Slusarski (Drums/Vocals). Photographed by Lips Tremelle
'Virtual Insanity' is a beauty of a track. Its brilliance is in how it lulls along after the frenetic start of the first three songs. What it may lack in tempo makes up for it in its structure. The mellower flow continues onto with the opening section on 'Holiday,' but soon, the band's hallmark of sublime guitar riffs and rangy vocals surface on the backbone of Peter Berke's throbbing bass guitar. 'S.O.L. (Better Time)' is a pure Southern Rock-esque stomper steeped with that traditional sound and a modern twist that oozes attitude out of the speakers.
Photograph by Karoline Hill at Basement CPH - Copenhagen, Denmark
As 'Reflex' begins its climax, it's safe to say I've not had as much fun in a long time while reviewing this album. 'Can't Sleep' is another Garage Rock staple that punctuates the more honed, classical Rock vibe from this extremely well-rounded 5-piece band. 'Modern Man' goes to show their diverse abilities to the core, with factors of Post and Sludge Rock, as well as tinges of Grunge. The closing number 'Information Overload' again echoes my statements and still manages to bring uniqueness to the front by reprising 'Virtual insanity' in the latter stages.
They describe themselves as a '…band with a rock groove and punk attitude…' and although I could not quickly sum them up any better, there is far, far more here to experience. Times are always hard for new bands to make their mark on the world, so a special mention goes out to Koda Kultur, an organisation supporting such acts as Human Growth with the necessary funds to make 'Reflex' a reality.
Photograph by Lips Tremelle
Interview with Human Growth
By Derek Howie
D: Hi Peter, congratulations to you and the guys on a superb album and thanks for joining me today. As this is The Vinyl Hole and I’m a record collecting fanatic, the first thing I must ask is will we see ‘Reflex’ on a shiny black or a multi-coloured disc, or even both?
HG: At this point in time we can't afford the financial risk of pressing "Reflex" onto vinyl... it's risky business pressing a bunch of records without any tour dates lined up or audience demand for that matter. We've gone down the digital road and sold a few copies on Bandcamp but we're confident that our Spotify royalties will help us break through.
D: A five-piece rock band is not unique, but one using two drummers is certainly a break from the norm. How on earth did you progress to that arrangement?
HW: I've seen rock bands do it really well live (King Crimson, King Gizzard, Polica, & Oh Sees) and I get excited by the energy it gives me as an audience member. I also really like the power and hypnotic effect that multiple drums and percussions can have so that's another avenue I want to continue exploring. Our progression was very easy because I trust Mathias' instincts as musician. I like to pound out a groove that gets the band rolling where Mathias' touch has a wide range of dynamic, he can play soft, loud, percussive or rock steady. He's also a great guitar player!
D: I've had ‘Reflex' on repeat playback over the last week, it sounds like you’ve been playing together for decades, have you?
HG: The only decade long relationship is between my brother David and I. We've been jamming, writing and playing together in bands for a long time now so we've refined our non-verbal communication and musical intuition to a tee. The rest of the group is intertwined with connections from playing in different bands together and what not over the last 5 years... Davit Eros and I, had a local gig playing Hendrix/Doors covers... Peter Berke and I played rhythm section together in a previous band... Mathias and I worked together on musical projects over the last few years as well. We all share a common history of jamming out, thoughtful conversations, and cold beverages.
D: It’s such a difficult time to promote new album, but the end is in sight. What are the band's touring plans for 2021?
HG: It's tough to plan anything at the moment so we think it's going to be pretty local for 2021 because our bass player Pete is expecting a newborn baby this month and that requires a bit of time off... we're not stressing because there's still too many unknowns with this whole situation. The plan is to build our audience with some local shows, hopefully land some decent festival gigs this summer and maybe some long weekend tours around beautiful Denmark in the fall.
D: Lastly, with a fantastic debut album under you belts, what plans or ideas do you have for its follow up?
HG: Thanks Derek, the plan is to get back into the room when our rehearsal space opens and write in a similar fashion where we bring ideas and do a bit of improvising but I think this time we'll marinate the music for a longer incubation period. "Reflex" was written in 2 months and recorded over a weekend so we want to play that material out in front of an audience and see how we develop our sounds on stage. Our follow-up will be a natural evolution of the band.
Don't miss Human Growth's music video! Premiere is 9:00 PM Copenhagen, 3:00 PM EST (New York). You can see it HERE!
Human Growth 'Reflex' is available to buy at Reflex | Human Growth (bandcamp.com)
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