Sydney band Human Noise have today released their debut album, Animal People. It’s a beautifully varied record, from lo-fi grooves to frenetic guitar-driven bangers. The lyrics are sharp and no two tracks are the same.
Fans of indie-punk rock acts such as Sonic Youth, RAT!hammock and The Strokes should find plenty to love here. I’m also getting a Dandy Warhols vibe to some of the tracks, which can only be a good thing. Human Noise is an eclectic sonic trip, well worth the journey.
Songwriter and lead singer, Eddie Boyd said of the album “In January 2019 we flew to Lyttelton, NZ to record the album with Ben Edwards. Ben is a great producer and really fun to work with. We’d recorded our first album (released under Boydos) with him in 2017 and were very keen to work with him again. We stayed at the studio which has this amazing view of the Lyttelton Harbour. The daily schedule usually involved a slow morning with an 11 or 12 o’clock start and then we’d work late into the night. Once the instrumental tracking was done we’d go on these long drives around the NZ countryside in Ben’s van, trying to pick the right take for each tune. Once we’d picked the takes I spent a few days doing vocals and then we got stuck into overdubs and the little sprinkles on top.
Further down the track we recorded a couple more songs with our friend Blain Cuneen at his home in Belfield. Those two tracks are the most stripped back on the album and I think having that separation in how they recorded adds a nice point of difference.
I definitely thought from the get go that it was going to be a break up album but it kinda became just as much about anxiety and friendship and self critique. I made the one year deadline with 10 songs. We ended up doing a little chopping and changing in the year that followed – I wanted to add a couple of songs and take a couple off. I’m really glad we spent the extra time getting it right. It’s the first body of work that I feel completely proud of and I can’t wait to share it.”
In support of their album, Human Noise will be playing shows in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong, Thirroul and Newcastle. The dates are below.
To celebrate the release of Animal People, Eddie has put together a track by track breakdown of the album. The tone and content reflect the honesty and colour of the album, so do take a read, crank up the volume and be entertained and enlightened.
Animal People from Human Noise – Track by Track
I was living in Stanmore when I wrote “Colourful Shirt”. One day I caught a burglar halfway through his haul – I came home to find the window open and minutes later he came back for more. I told him my stuff was missing and he said he was just looking for his ball lol. Anyway, he ended up bolting and I found all of my stuff in a box around the corner. But it inspired some of the lyrics for the song which, more broadly, is about missing people that aren’t in your life anymore; walking a line between apathy, optimism and despair.
“Cut the Leash”
Cut the Leash is more of a straight-up angry breakup song. My favourite part is the drum groove. Clay spent a really long time in the studio perfecting that bouncy, forward surging feel. ‘More bombastic’ I think was Ben’s direction after each take. Great word.
This one’s about the things you hold against yourself and each other after the breakdown of a relationship. It’s about working on letting those things in order to move on. I transplanted this idea onto little things in my childhood that I felt bad about or held against people at the time – my sister really did hit her head on the wall after I chased her down the hall, and my brother really could be a little shit. But we all love each other now nawww.
“How Is It You Do That?”
I really wanted to write a two minute, loud, fast banger after my rediscovery of “Fell In love With a Girl” by The White Stripes. The writing process was one of those rare and thrilling times for me where a song just unravels itself in a few hours which I guess is echoed in its frantic energy. It’s about anxiety and friendship and meds and meditation.
“Hard to Know”
“Hard to Know” was the first song I wrote for the album and obviously the saddest. There are no funny lines or observations to lighten the mood, I don’t think I had it in me at the time. But I like that about it. I’m glad I don’t have an album full of wallowing sadness but I think just one provides some nice contrast.
With “One Time” I wanted to write a song that really just built itself off a single chord. I love the tension that comes from just clinging to that drone for the first 3 and a half minutes before it finally releases into the outro. Both the lyrics and the music are kinda walking this tightrope that is destined to give out.
It sits right in the middle of the album is quite free in form compared to the rest of the tracks. There are these long screeching guitar solos with the band chugging along underneath and it really lends itself to being drawn out when we play live. I feel like it’s a really nice break from an otherwise quite lyrically led album.
“The Will of Others”
The Will of Others is one of the later additions to the album that we recorded with our friend Blain Cunneen at his home in Sydney. It was initially written as a poem but came together really nicely as a song one night. Most of the time the music comes before the lyrics for me so this was a nice variation of the process. For the final guitar take we ended up using the very first demo I did in GarageBand. It just had this really nice immediacy and roughness to it that we didn’t think we could replicate in the studio.
“Huntsman” was kinda this hip-hop sample I’d been fiddling with for like a year. It had quite a different feel to the rest of the demos thanks in part to my recent obsession with GarageBand’s crate digger. In the studio Clay tracked the drums live but we focussed on getting them to sound as mechanical and drum machine-y as possible. We had heaps of fun with the production. Ben (Edwards) had this whistling kettle and Clay had this vision of including it somehow. We recorded it boiling and then Ben played around with manipulating the pitch. It adds this weird spooky tension to the outro which I love.
“Bad Language” is pretty much a 3-minute vent about all of my first world frustrations like EFTPOS fees and unreliable public transport and rude people. Getting mad at the little things makes life harder and then you get mad at the little things which makes life harder etc..etc.. It’s a bit of self-critique and a bit of fun. I love belting out that second verse live. Really feels like I can get out all my anger of the week in that 30 seconds or so.
“Animal People” started out as a bit of a joke about my housemates cat who used to drink out of the toilet then sit on my pillow. But it ended up taking on this heaviness and became more about anxiety and feeling misunderstood and the unfriendliness of people sometimes (not my housemate if you’re reading this! I’ve moved on from the toilet cat issue).
We recorded this one in Sydney with Blain. Monty tracked the most beautiful guitar solo. One of those takes where everyone in the room unanimously and immediately agrees that it’s the one.
Human Noise Tour Dates
Friday, November 5, Stag and Hunter, Newcastle tickets
Thursday, November 25 The Vanguard, Sydney tickets
Friday, November 26, Beaches, Thirroul free show
Wednesday, December 8 Small Time, Melbourne free show
Thursday, December 16, Lalala’s, Wollongong tickets
Thursday, January 20 The Retreat, Melbourne tickets
Thursday, January 27 Sideway, Canberra free show