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Friday, 9 December 2011

Record Review - The Cubical 'It Ain't Human'

It Ain’t Human
Halfpenny Records LP / CD

Why doesn’t more rock’n’roll of today sound like this? Liverpudlian’s The Cubical return a couple of years after their debut with another splendorous collection of mutant blues. The brass-aided opener ‘Dirty Shame’ is a galloping beast that relies less on the Mersey and more on the Mississippi. It’s no slouch of an opening and displays just what is so special about this band. The album is a growler (and a grower): vocals, guitars, harmonica all grumble, snarl, roar, and grunt in equal measure. It makes for a pretty singular sound that may not be to everyones taste, but if you do find pleasure in it you’re going to love listening to It Ain’t Human over and over again. Excellence permeates all areas of this record.

It’s a record dipped in The Magic Band but not to the point of parody. Other touchstones are surely Howlin’ Wolf (Hubert Sumlin RIP), The Jim Jones Revue and Nick Cave’s early work with Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party. But don’t go thinking this is an album of bluster and noise: on the New Orleans piano-led ‘Falling Down’ and the acoustic murder ballad 'Paper Walls' their yearning, vulnerable side is forthright. Though this being The Cubical the music still sounds claustrophobic and haunted. Whatever you do don’t file under ‘garage’, for it would a major disservice to such a demented, swampy, and intoxicating piece of work.

Phil Istine

The Cubical play the Happening club at The Drop in Stoke Newington on Saturday March 3rd.

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