Review Summary: Good prelude to All Human's upcoming release "Catholic Guilt or the Queerest of Thoughts."
Adam Rupert of Fear Before (the March of Flames) and Orbs is typically known for his high-pitched vocals. He was the contrast to Dave Marion’s deeper screams/creepy spoken word parts in Fear Before (as well as providing some underrated guitar parts). He laid the lyrical sci-fi backdrop that helped Orbs create a successful prog rock debut while anchoring the project from being too pretentious. With All Human he’s striking out on his own, merging Sparklehorse like sparse indie rock with his own odd vocal ticks. This four-song set is comprised of songs that were recorded earlier that did not make his upcoming release “Catholic Guilt or the Queerest of Thoughts.”
The four-song set is over quickly. The songs are built on simple acoustic guitar meditations on Catholicism with some samples and electronics here and there. If anything, the set gets you ready for the upcoming release, but does little else. Right out of the gate on the brilliantly titled, “Everything I Learned about God I Learned From a Country Song,” everything comes together. The processed strumming gives way to an oddly alluring lo-fi electronic breakdown. Rupert’s vocals give the song a quality of some of Sparklehorse’s most fractured and creepy songs. He alternates from his high-pitched vocals that most people are accustomed to from his earlier work to an even higher octave over the course of this and most of the other songs. “Little Believer and “Hanging Tree Hanging Me” keep the vibe going, but take a few listens to stand out on their own. They continue down the same road as the album opener, but don’t sound nearly as distinctive. In these moments, Rupert’s vocals keep everything together. Going in different directions and keeping the religious themes stitched into every song, the vocals help keep the EP from stagnating too much. The closer, “Through the Floor and Onto the Roof,” again shows the promise that “…Country Song” hinted at. Especially striking are the use of electronics and the odd part in the middle with a sample of an English woman explaining how to treat a dislocated and fractured elbow by slitting it down the side to reduce the swelling.
At one point you could download the songs for free from the All Human Bandcamp and Lastfm but both have taken them down since. If you search around the internet long enough they shouldn’t be too hard to find and probably won’t cost anything. The new All Human stuff ups the production while keeping the same influences and depressing lyrics: http://allhuman.bandcamp.com/track/utah.