We Are Only Human Once
The Prettiest Boys in Town


4.3
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
August 17th, 2019 | 53 replies


Release Date: 08/16/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I knew about WOHO, way back in 2019.

Do you remember what it was like hearing Jimmy Eat World before they were famous? Or maybe Brand New, before those 2006 leaked demos were remastered? These are the vibes I get from The Prettiest Boys In Town, the third LP of 2019 by We Are Only Human Once (WOHO). This is very much a starving artist scenario: this is the kind of guy who releases five EP’s in a year, and then turns around the very next year with three LP’s – a prolific rate of production that would make even King Gizzard or The Oh Sees green with envy. His twenty five Facebook followers ought to be excited about all the new material, but honestly none of those quite live up to this album. It’s not the perfect record – the production is very raw and lo-fi, and there’s a few misfires with vocal/audio samples – but there’s a whole lot of talent in this project just waiting to be unveiled. A fellow site member summarized this album better than I ever could in one sentence: “Kinda feels like stumbling upon someone's bedroom concert, but you sit outside the door to listen because it happens to rule.” I invite you to pull up a chair alongside me – because this is indeed something special in the making.

From the opening moments of ‘Left Out’ we’re treated to Clarity vibes; a to-and-fro beat channels echoes of ‘Hear You Me’, only with some suspectly-executed experimental vocal effects. The song gears up in intensity as it fades out, leading right into the ambitious seven and a half minute ‘Dearest’ – which proves the project’s ability to effortlessly sustain “epic” indie-rock progressions. Electric guitars dominate the song, although it settles into an acoustic sweet spot late and features the earworm chorus: “I’m a ghost who is bound to this town.” It justifies its length by being one of the very best songs on The Prettiest Boys In Town. ‘Haven’t Slept’ is an acoustically dominated ballad of sorts; WOHO again proves to be very adept at alternating between soft, lush sounding indie-folk and heavier, electric alt-rock. The primary drawback again comes in the form of an ill-timed spoken passage: “hey, why don’t you catch some Z’s at my place, I don’t have a bed I only have a couch but we can share that fucking couch, until both of our backs break [inaudible].” At best it aims for the kind of effect Andrew McMahon frequently achieved on Everything In Transit , but at worst it takes a nearly flawless song and adds a moment that will make some listeners wince out of embarrassment. ‘Logs and Wooden Shields’ is a pretty little bridge of an acoustic ditty that leads into the far more accomplished ‘Strange’ – a song that sounds like a blend between stripped-down yet upbeat pop-punk and seasoned indie-rock. It’d make for a great single, and it’s an excellent way to punctuate the album’s first half.

The album’s latter half is a little tidier. ‘Car Doors’ and ‘Giving Up Happy’ sound like WOHO doing his best Car Seat Headrest impersonation; ‘Blisters’ features one of the best guitar intros on the album as well as its best ambience/atmosphere; and the final two songs - ‘Masks of Leather Bracelets’ and ‘Boys and Girls’ comprise just under twenty minutes of music with some of his best guitar melodies and most creative structural ideas. Closer ‘Boys and Girls’ is particularly impressive, beginning as an echoed vocal passage that gradually piles on emotive verses that swell with more and more anticipation at each refrain before fading into silence. After a couple minutes of light static, the track comes back into focus for something of an encore – this haunting acoustic ballad where we’re left with some parting words: “Just don’t give up on what I say.”

We Are Only Human Once’s bandcamp page describes its own music as “poorly vocalized elongated snippets about heartbreak.” Even though I disagree about the quality of the vocals (despite the raw production, they’re quite good at times), that statement conveys where this album’s heart is at. Musically, it’s lo-fi, under-produced, and unconcerned with grandiosity; lyrically it’s heartbroken, lost, and searching for companionship. It’s all the best things about the indie/rock/emo icons that it emulates, just without the glitz and glamor. That stripped-down approach may make the music less marketable on a wide scale, but it also makes it a whole lot more meaningful to those of us who are willing to peel away the layers. With a little more time and exposure, we may be looking back at The Prettiest Boys In Town as the album that launched We Are Only Human Once to bigger and better things. Regardless of what the future holds, however, this is at the very least an album you can lose yourself in – and one that practically nobody else knows exists. Maybe someday, we'll be saying "I knew about WOHO, way back in 2019."




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user ratings (23)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
August 17th 2019


32488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Review is pretty informal, but so is the album. I seem to only review my favorite album(s) each week anymore these days, so it's yet another high score from me. This is great if you don't mind really minimally produced stuff from artists who are still very much just ordinary people.

Digging: Patrick Watson - Wave

Lord(e)Po)))ts
August 17th 2019


46193 Comments


Have u checked new evan geesman

dmathias52
August 17th 2019


968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very excited to check this! Hopefully it scratches the emo/alt-rock itch that Oso Oso didn’t quite hit

Just curious, how’d you find this?

Digging: Stuck Out Here - Until We're Each Someone Else

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 17th 2019


32488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I pull from a variety of different resources/websites/etc when I make my weekly releases post. Can't recall exactly where this came from, but it reminds me of a less developed/established Brand New that maybe went more towards a Car Seat Headrest style of indie-rock instead of getting all dark and mysterious. Needless to say, that's a pretty awesome vibe to possess.

It's also worth mentioning that I have no personal ties to this artist and have never spoken to or otherwise communicated with them, which might be an important boundary to establish considering how unknown/pedestrian the artist is (I've seen plenty of sputnik user projects gather more widespread notoriety than this guy). I don't necessarily think this will take off here - I'd liken it to that Shadi rap album I reviewed merely for how raw and minimally produced it is (I gave that album a 4, but this is way more up my alley because - y'know - indie-rock). People will either love the album for its scratchy/authentically 'normal guy' sound, or find it hard to get through. But I never score my reviews differently than my own personal rating, and this definitely hit all the right spots for me. Underground, lo-fi indie-rock that channels some emo vibes and is virtually unknown? Yes, please!

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 17th 2019


15718 Comments


i can't even find a facebook page for these guys. lol

great review mate

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

WatchItExplode
August 17th 2019


7156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

...and here it is. Been waiting for this since I saw that 4.3. I'm not quite sure where this will land for me but it's certainly a 4 plus.

WatchItExplode
August 17th 2019


7156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Oh God, you used that sound off. I'm honored.

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 17th 2019


32488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Was wondering when you'd notice.

Like I said, could see this tickling some people's fancy and others will write it off as ameteur.

The production kind of reminds me of Grizzly Bear's Horn of Plenty. Raw and "indie" but also has a woodsy/backyard charm.

dmathias52
August 17th 2019


968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some of these lyrics are insanely cringeworthy, a lot of the songs meander way too long, and the production can be grating

I loved it!

WatchItExplode
August 17th 2019


7156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It is decidedly amateur in a way that made me extremely jealous of the raw talent and creativity on display.

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2019


8175 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This definitely sounds interesting/up my alley

Digging: Common Holly - When I say to you Black Lightning

WatchItExplode
August 17th 2019


7156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It's like glass beach by way of horse jumper of love instead of say anything

Ambrosian
August 17th 2019


149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Def gonna check out, there's always something fun about listening to a super obscure band with potential

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 17th 2019


32488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure that this is just one guy judging by the band's Facebook pictures

Anthracks
August 17th 2019


6302 Comments


another generic alt rock band?

Digging: Yellow Eyes - Rare Field Ceiling

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 17th 2019


32488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

People who don't like lo fi indie rock may take a pass on this, yea, but it's quite good for what it aims to be.

WatchItExplode
August 17th 2019


7156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You come out of the woodwork to shit on weird thing Anthracks. This is like heckling at a grade school spelling bee.



Generic is not a descriptor I would tag this with though, no. Amateurish yes. Earnest yes.

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 17th 2019


32488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I mean in his defense he wasn't overtly criticizing it, just asking. I think we both know this isn't his thing however!

WatchItExplode
August 17th 2019


7156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

He did like glass beach so...anyway I love thracks' for his intense of Montreal fandom

Voltimand
August 18th 2019


1073 Comments


The fidelity here is indeed quite low.

Digging: City and Colour - A Pill For Loneliness



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