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Older - Album Review: HUMAN+

31 Oct 2021 // A review by Corinne Rutherford

Waikato based British producer Jel Legg and Kiwi singer Julie Legg are Post Punk band Older. Following on from their debut album Silence (2019) is their anticipated second album HUMAN+, which is due for release 1st November 2021. Described as a “hard-edged, up front album drawing on multiple genres, with the resultant sound unlike any other in New Zealand,” HUMAN+ is a well-constructed collection of 12 original songs, leaving you interested with sublimely creative ideas.


It was amid a global pandemic that a clarity surrounding direction of their second album was achieved. The lyrics were yet to be written and the focus of HUMAN+ changed from the twelve stages of a breakdown to gipping subject matter including the struggle against gender and sexual oppression. The pair began to reflect the beauty of the hidden human condition, in particular polyamory and pansexuality resulting in powerful lyrical storytelling.


The first track Sunday Morning launches into HUMAN+ with an energetic Post Punk sound that grabs your attention, this sound evolves throughout the album, bringing in New Age sounding synth, lush guitar and vocals reminiscent of Debbie Harry which just get stronger on each track.

Subsequent tracks Talkback, Coffee and Maybe deliver a dynamic and catchy sound mixed with sublimely creative musical storytelling. A punch to your senses. Human slows the pace down slightly, building up in a gutsy crescendo and down again, like a wave of expertly mixed sound and vocals. It’s at this point in the album you begin to really appreciate the synergetic sound that Older deliver. Perhaps your latest addiction.

The glorious offering of Switch delivers a clean drum mix with no vocals and full lush guitar. Powerful.

I have long admired the song writing and sound that Older create, it’s got a raw energetic vibe combined with wonderfully constructed words that don't pull any punches. On HUMAN+ they also offer a taste of their diversity when it comes to mixing different tracks. The next song, Underground was a good example and a standout for me. A reggae ska infused track which includes vocals from both Jel and Julie. This is a real attention getter which wouldn't be out of place on an early Kaiser Chiefs album. Fast paced, energetic, sonically staccato delivery.

Throughout the album there is loads of lovely synth adding to the overall sound, creating another layer of depth.

Track ten, Nova turns back the clock to early Blondie. Following on from that is Diese Libertinen (Someone who lives life unencumbered by morals) this has an early Devo sound, mixed with B-52’s overlaid with Blondie vocals (Julie sounds to me, like a slightly raw version of Debbie Harry). These two tracks are shining examples of the diversity and polish which Older has created on HUMAN+.

Home provides the perfect finale, which is slower, the beauty of Julies vocals shines on this track. As the song progresses it builds up a lashing punk sound, ending with piano and strings reminiscent of Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, ending with a pure dramatic flourish. Five minutes and twenty-one seconds went by in a flash and left me wanting more. Powerful lyrics and stunning delivery.

HUMAN+ is a wonderfully creative album offering a different perspective on the world we currently live in. It is well crafted and captured my interest from the very beginning. Older are possibly my favourite Kiwi Post Punk band, and they have managed to combine multiple genres on this album which is fresh and interesting whilst still delivering a nostalgic sound.

It was well worth the wait to hear the more serious and darker sound which Older have developed.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Older

Older: OLDER have a passion for producing biting social commentary that takes a hard swipe at modern life. Jel Legg & Julie Legg produce music that is laden with antipathy for mainstream culture and is seasoned with an alternative point of view, wrapped up in a deceptive layer of respectability. As champions of the creative thinker and the under dog yapping in the wind, everything they write is inspired by first-hand experience.

Being driven by a love for high-energy music doesn't mean their music has to always be that way. Their productions can be both simple and cinematic while their lyrics question everything and assume nothing. Their thoughts and ideas can bite, but they are nice people, really. Their albums are honest and accessible to many listeners but equally they are never constrained by genre expectations or commercial goals.

The band are true ambiverts living away from people in rural New Zealand, happy in their own space and never more so than in their own Studio109. When they 'go out to play' they love to hang with interesting, creative types and engage deeply. They are the oddballs that never quite grew up, never quite fitted in and didn't like being members of the crowd. OLDER's 'inner child' is alive and well and seeing life for how pompous it can be.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Older

Releases

Unmasked
Year: 2024
Type: Album
HUMAN+
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Silence
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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