Album Review: Human Woman - Human Woman

18 July 2012 | 11:48 am | Mac McNaughton

Human Woman by itself is one of the strongest releases of the year so far.

To fall in love with a band is one thing. To fall for a record label is another, and Hamburg's hfn records is currently pumping out some inspiring stuff worthy of investigation. Trentemøller and Kasper Bjørk call the label home, as do Icelandic duo Human Woman, whose debut long player dances darkly, huddled to keep warm from the bitter cold outside. Yes, it's a winter warmer, folks!

Marrying studio electronica with bona-fide instrumentation and Jón Helgason's dreamy vocals makes for a richly textured experience (see the sexy-as double bass drizzled over Helgason's falsetto in Einn Eftir or the squelchy minimalism of Lazer & Magic). Skippity beats flourish, sometimes driving harder on the feet, sometimes provoking thoughts of herbal chillaxation. These are songs that would reward being played live with a small band, Gisli Thorgeirsson lurking behind the computer bank stage left. The dubbiness throughout often recalls The Orb's housier excursions from the early '90s.

With a touch of lite-kink in Red Dress (“She wants me to wear her dress”) and the Death In Vegas-fuelled bassline of Dddi, it's not all warmth and fuzziness abound. There's really not a lot to dislike on this record though. Finishing with the one-two blow of aptly titled instrumental Sleepy and the Blade Runner-esque untitled postscript is a well executed play to leave the listener contently horizontal.

Human Woman by itself is one of the strongest releases of the year so far, but it also gets one excited for forthcoming offerings from fellow hfn-ites Reptile Youth and Lightbluemover.

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