27 May 2022

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Human Susan - EP Review: Fun Is Fun

20 Feb 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

According to their Bandcamp page, Human Susan is an alien trying to assimilate herself into the world, navigating the absurdity and mundanity of human embodiment. A crunchy and sparkly cosmic soup. More accurately, one could instead say that this Dunedin-based quintet comprise Ruth Crowe (vocals, keyboards), and Caitlin Lester (vocals, keyboards, recorder), Connie Benson (guitar), Jenny Duncan (drums) and Perry Goldsmith (bass). This four-track EP, 17-minute-long-EP is their debut release and finds them diving strongly into the punk and post punk world of the late Seventies and very early Eighties. The first bands which sprung to mind when trying to think of a comparison was The Slits and X-Ray Spex, although early Bow Wow Wow also is not too far away.

One might imagine with two keyboard players in the band that one would find these much more to the fore, but instead they are used sparingly and for additional effect here and there. Due to the mix, the sound one often concentrates the most on are the drums as they are incredibly raw and real and have been put placed ahead of the rest of the sound, sometimes even overlaying the vocals. The most overtly musical element within this is Perry who keeps the melody going with a nicely understated bass line which is often overwhelmed by the highly distorted and cranked guitar. One can imagine the latter being even more dynamic and, in your face, when they play live, as when Connie is playing, she has a massive impact. Interestingly, they also have passages where her input is either slight or somewhat muted, and the arrangements have a great deal of space within them which allow Ruth and Caitlin to pursue a duo or beck and call approach to their singing without it ever becoming overwhelming and compressed.

Their version of punk can be light-hearted and fun, look at the EP title, but there is also depth in what they are playing and singing about, with Sorry being a case in point. This commences with recorders, and the repeated line They can’t touch your body, if they can’t see it. I have four adult daughters, and the Me Too movement is something which has resonated very closely with me, and the repeated refrain at the end of I’m sorry, when one is singing about parts of her body, is incredibly deep and powerful. They can be naively melodic at times, more frantic at others, always staying true to a strong punk and post punk ethic, and anyone interested in the genre would do well to seek them out.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )

About Human Susan

Photo Credit: Andrew @ KEAPHOTOS.COM

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Human Susan


Fun Is Fun
Year: 2022
Type: EP

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