Album Review :
The Human Flight Committee - Oh, When the Animals Unionize

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Artist: The Human Flight Committee
Album: Oh, When the Animals Unionize
Label: Blue Duck Records
Release Date: March 11, 2008
Review by: Eric Pettersson

Tracklist:
1. Oh, the Beginning
2. She’s a Car Destroyer
3. You’ll Get It When You’re Older
4. Tint and Quarantine
5. Serious Emotional Problems, Beyond Pacifism
6. The Last Song Anyone Is Ever Going to Hear
7. Oh, the Middle
8. Russian? We’re Barely Moving
9. The Shortest Distance between Two Points Is a Punch in the Mouth
10. The Five Second Saga
11. Wolves in Cheap Clothing
12. Oh, the End

This record aptly begins with a walk through the zoo. During this walk, animals as varied as elephants and zebras, gorillas and parrots are heard. Then the music begins. Throughout the songs, influences as varied as Stavesacre and The Blood Brothers, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster and Hellogoodbye are heard. If this list has you a bit confused, let me explain. Vocalist Aaron Shelton has a range and tone that can’t help but make me think of Mark Salomon. Not constantly or anything, but at points like the loud, epic crescendo into the breakdown of “She’s a Car Destroyer,” Aaron’s vocal styling show a definite nod towards Mark’s signature sound. Which is really freakin’ weird, considering the verses of this song have fast, chaotic, and jagged riffs and top-notched screams that could have fit just as easily on a record from The Blood Brothers. And just when you think you have this intense, driving, and creative band figured out, a song like “Russian? We’re Barely Moving” hits and blows you out of the water. Synthesized leads, danceable beats, and electronic vocal effects? I thought this was a post-hardcore record, not the latest pop band on Fueled By Ramen? But, as should be expected, THFC bring it all together and make it work, with flow and passion that is sincerely lacking in many bands at their level. I guess the defining characteristic of this album is that it is sporadic. The sound is staggering and unexpected. Let’s just say if I walked like these guys play, I’d be locked up real quick. And that’s a good thing for them, because for a band that seems to have more energy than they know what to do with, they’ve found a perfect way to channel it all into something enjoyable and coherent without sounding sloppy or all over the place (or at least not in a bad way).

8/10

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