# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Puny Human - Universal Freak Out

  by Paul Raven

published: 29 / 1 / 2008

Puny Human - Universal Freak Out
Label: Small Stone Records
Format: CD


Irreverent stoner rock with a strong emphasis on humour on third album from New York lunatics Puny Human

What have 50's comics and science fiction, 70's heavy metal and 80's post-punk got in common? Initially I'd have answered “not a great deal”, but it turns out there is a connection – they're all things that influence the music of New York nut-cases Puny Human. Back from a three year hiatus with a new drummer, 'Universal Freakout' is Puny Human's third album. If you were forced to file it by genre, you'd probably have to label it as stoner rock, but that would be a huge oversimplification. Because stoner rock, while being a genre not entirely disconnected from humour, usually takes itself a little more seriously than Puny Human seem to. That said, the music on 'Universal Freakout' is all business. New drummer John Bongiorno lays down a firm foundation of straight-up hard-hitting beats, with plenty of splashing and crashing punctuation from the cymbals. Meanwhile, the brothers Diamond combine their bass and guitar prowess into a sound that could be one instrument played by two men, or perhaps one man played by two instruments – low rumbling bottom-end riffs with fuzzy chords and solos that ooze from your speakers like cartoon nuclear waste. These guys know a good riff when they hear one, and hold the narrow line between catchy simplicity and virtuoso skills with ease. The whole band work brilliantly as a unit, with some brilliant stops and drops and breakdowns built into the song structures to produce a set of classic head-nodding tunes. It's the vocals and lyrics of frontman Jim Starace that really set Puny Human aside, though. He has a kind of wild-eyed delivery style – imagine a paranoid street-corner conspiracy theorist mixed with a Deep South rock singer – which is emphasised by some bizarre overdubs and characterisations. Throw in some themes that tip a nod towards old-school flying saucer sci-fi movies with some slightly surreal and mad-cap takes on the more traditional stoner rock staples, and you've got some idea where they're coming from; probably about as good an idea as you're going to get, to be fair. Asking too many questions would spoil the fun of Universal Freakout, which is ultimately a top quality riff-rock album with a grin on its face. So settle down with a few beers and wave your hair around for a bit – it might be the last chance you get before the greys come and take you away ...

Track Listing:-
1 Wake Up Williamsburg
2 Up Not Out
3 The Real Johnny Charm
4 The Bus Will Eventually Crash
5 Number of the Beauty
6 Planting My Impatience
7 Every Brain Cell Is Immense
8 Made on Mars
9 Northern Drawl
10 Party on the 13th Floor
11 Can't Clap w/ a Drink in Your Hand
12 Twin Fever

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