Remember when Jeff Goldblum went from intense loner scientist to man/fly hybrid via some teleportation gone wrong? It was disgusting and ended in tears (and stomach acid) and the Fly II but I digress; Humanfly’s (geddit?) journey from hardcore act to post-prog explorers is a bit like that except it’s resulted in the swirling soup of psychedelic riffs and rock grit on their new record Awesome Science (again, geddit?)and it’s an unmitigated success. Like a number of formerly hard-boiled punks (I’m thinking Neurosis, Cave In and At The Drive-In’s big-haired chiefs) they’ve swapped doctrine for ‘do as you please’ on this release.
From the skittery squelch of opening number Golden Arrows to the rough hewn muscle show of The Apple That Never Fell Humanfly pack in the pyrotechnics like a demented special effects artist liberally adding flashing lights and explosions throughout each song. Despite the virtuosity and lengthy track times the album is not some beard stroking pseudo-intellectual progressive rock exercise: there’s plenty of adrenaline firing rock on Awesome Science, evidence that they’ve not entirely abandoned the instant thrills of hardcore.
A Majestic Story deals in some cosmos gazing with its rhythmically schizophrenic FX ladled quiet-loud approach as John Sutcliffe reminds us that “we are all children of the stars.” The Apple That Never Fell is the kind of shoegaze meets metal mindfuck that Oceansize used to specialise in and they toss off riffs on the outro like Blood Mountain-era Mastodon just for good measure. The Armour of Science is similarly aggressive and is an outstanding show of spasmodic riffs and energy across its fifteen minute running time; ever gunning for the horizon. Poetry of Light even manages to incorporate some afro-pop guitar in the opening measures before Frozen In Time, Billions of Light Years Away cuts the listener adrift – it should be obvious at this point to say the band incorporate a wide palette of musical influences into their songwriting.
The musicianship is stellar (sorry) throughout: guitars crunch and soar while the rhythm section sweats bullets and the shifting arrangements, though lengthy, keep you on your toes with their effortless vitality. All in all, if you are looking for some cutting edge science you could do worse than getting yourself a copy of Awesome Science, like experimenting with homemade teleportation devices for one.