The Human Value is a duo (actually, now a trio AFTER this album) that plays a punkish pop that is full of all of the right stuff that makes for great sounding records. It is also a disc that I went back to several times after first hearing it. That’s a sign of a good record, when you just can’t seem to move on to the next album because the one you’ve just heard won’t leave your brain yet.
Playing like a throwback to latter-day ‘70s new-wave power-pop, The Human Value sounds a bit like stuff from Joan Jett, and other bands from the late ‘70s period with the vocalist, Turu, sounding, at times, a bit like Patti Smith (it’s there – listen to “Kill Pangs,” a great song on this album). The album begins with a male pleasing “Give Me,” a sexual turnabout with the girl begging in the middle of the night, full of buzzing guitar.
But there’s other influence in there as well. On “You Want Him,” the song is like an outtake from Fear of Music (Talking Heads) as does “Lonely Girl,” and “Parts Per Million.” “Complications” sounds like a hopped-up Joy Division tune. And now that we know that there are plenty of influences in The Human Value, let’s step away from comparisons and listen to the album for what it is.
This debut (released in the UK in 2005, now in the US) is a collection of various styles of ‘70s’ post-punk brilliance headed by a vocalist that is well worth her salt (and great looking as well…well, she’s bloody hot, is what she is). And you can’t look past the instrumentalist in the band. Known as Hiram, he plays the guitars, bass, keyboards, and throws in vocals as well. They’ve since added a female drummer.
The album contains 13 tracks, all of them excellent, all worth your time. Now that you know a little about The Human Value, you should check them out. I couldn’t let the new year begin without giving you a look – and listen – to one of the better sounding bands that has crossed my desk, one who can come to play and make it sound great in the process. We’ve (as listeners) have made a big deal out of Interpol, Killers, and other fun-to-hear bands that draw heavily from the well of past music. We should be adding The Human Value to that list.
The Human Value’s debut is very contagious and extremely viral. Once inside your head, it’s hard to get it out.