Music Review

The Canadian band that keep you going till late and we review them

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Canadian indie electronic duo HUMANS released their album, ‘Going Late’ via Haven Sounds at the end of 2018. The pair have already shared three singles from this, their fourth full-length album, all of which were met with great acclaim, as well as two exceptional music videos for their singles ‘Going Late’ and ‘Breakfast With Liz’, the video of the latter having already won an award for Best Music Video at the Leo Awards 2018. ‘Still About You’, the first single from the upcoming album, has been met with an overwhelming response, receiving extensive radio support, and is currently the #5 track on CBC Radio 3. HUMANS has garnered support from publications such as The Fader, Pigeons and Planes, Interview Magazine, Noisey, COMPLEX, CLASH Magazine, Resident Advisor, XLR8R, Earmilk, Magnetic Mag, Nest HQ to name but a few, as well as Beats 1’s Zane Lowe. The pair has also been dominating the live music scene, with appearances at SXSW, Coachella, The Great Escape, CMJ, Mad Decent Block Party, Beach Goth Festival as well as touring with big names Flight Facilities, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Sleepy Tom, Sweater Beats, Young Empires and many more. The new LP was made with the help of Nik Kozub and features Grammy-winning producer Carlos De La Garza on album track ‘Still About You’ as well as So Loki for vocals on the track ‘RUN’.

HUMANS’ “Going Late” LP is a triumph in versatility and innovation; the duo manages to flawlessly blend elements of seemingly contrasting genres, creating their own unique brand of electronic music with each track without fail. HUMANS bring forward undeniably funky disco elements often paired with sultry vocals in tracks ‘Felony’, ‘Noose’ and ‘Going Late’, showcasing their ability to pay homage to classic retro tropes while keeping their sound contemporary and fresh. It’s also a welcome surprise to hear dark rave-inspired beats come through on tracks like ‘RUN (ft. So Loki)’, ‘Birthday Jam’ and ‘Water Water’, which could fill any dance-floor while still maintaining an indie edge. HUMANS’ production is filled with quirk and innovation; from the 90’s R&B-style vocals in ‘Blinds’, to ‘Still About You’s indie-pop-infused refrain, and the polyrhythms and eclectic drum sample sounds the duo use to build their beats, HUMANS have found a way to take an array of scintillating elements, recreate them and forge them into their signature minimalist style.

Made up of Vancouver locals Robbie Slade and Peter Ricq, their second LP, ‘Noontide’, landed HUMANS a Juno nomination for 2015’s Electronic Album of the Year. On top of their EP and LP releases, HUMANS have also produced and released the musical score for Peter Ricq’s 2017 theatrical motion picture ‘Dead Shack’, which premiered at Sitges, NIFFF, Fantasia, VIFF and Morbido Film Fest, to name a few.

Humans

HUMANS takes inspiration from a variety of sources, citing influences such as Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, Young Fathers, Detroit Swindle, Mall Grab, Abjo, LA Priest, Soft Hair, Mount Kimbie, Animal Collective, Ty Segall and Steve Lacy. HUMANS’ own sound could best be compared directly to indie electronic giants RÜFÜS DU SOL, Amtrac and Bob Moses, as well as Maribou State’s chilled but danceable sounds. On their brand new album release, HUMANS’ Peter comments, “Every track has a different story pretty much, some are 6 months old while others are 4 years old. It’s like a little journey into Robbie and I’s life since ‘Noontide’.”

The duo’s self-released EP Avec Mes Mecs captured the blind, wild, captivating joy of unrestrained youth, and seminal lyrics like “Who knew all we had to do was party” quickly made the EP a house party staple. The follow up EP, Traps was released with Hybridity Music. The release saw critical acclaim and college radio success, holding the #1 position for 6 weeks on the earshot electronic charts, and ranking in the top ten on BPM. Traps received a 4/5 on Resident Advisor, and the record was featured on XLR8R, Prefix, Indie Shuffle, Spinner, Interview Magazine, Rcrd Lbl, and scored the cover of Beatroute Magazine. Remixes included acclaimed producers Nautiluss and Max Ulis. The EP lead HUMANS on a North American tour including slots at Osheaga, Squamish Valley Music Fest, Bass Coast, SXSW, Shambhala, and CMJ. Their music has been featured in placements with Red Bull, Entourage, CSI, and MTV. When not making music, Slade works on a number of projects including Bass Coast Festival, while Ricq is a well respected indie director and illustrative visual artist.

Humans LP

Their debut LP, Noontide was an evolution of HUMANS carefully constructed, innovative mix of heavy electronics and modern pop sensibilities. The album is a synthesis of time and space, and a testament to the many influences that make up the band’s core. Noontide was released February 24th 2015 via Hybridity Music, one of Canada’s leading independent electronic labels. The album captured the attention of fans and industry alike earning them nominations at Canada’s Junos and Western Canadian Music Awards for “Electronic Album of the Year”.

The artwork for Noontide was designed by Peter himself. Besides performing and writing with HUMANS, Ricq is an acclaimed visual artist having developed animated television shows including “The League of Super Evil” which aired on YTV and Nickelodeon and has artwork exhibited throughout Canada. He is also the director and driving force behind HUMANS’ videos including the latest video from Water Water. The duo also amped up the live show by working with Tangible Productions and creating what they call “The Blob” An amorphous inflatable white structure that houses LED lights and sensors. Robbie describes the inspiration behind it, “For our live show, we wanted to make a truly unique experience. We were hoping to create something that was really out of this world. For us, a giant, inflatable mutant cow with led light behaviours inside throughout was just that! It’s also extremely fun to romp around inside of when the show is over.. But only if you help us tear down all the gear!”

The past few years has seen the success of the duo only multiply with 2019 already being a banner year for the duo and we expect to hear more great sounds.