It's sad that the Human Value is just releasing their
first album at the same time the legendary New York club CBGBs is fighting
for its life. Because the Human Value would fit into the CBGBs scene
pricelessly. They recall such classic bands as the Ramones, the
Talking Heads and mostly early Blondie so much that I could totally picture
them on that tiny stage.
"Complications" with distorted vocals from guitarist
Hiram (our stars have no last names, just like Madonna and Cher...) feels
like it would be right in home in the Bowery in the early 80s.
Yet, the Human Value in not just a retro band.
With sultry vocals by Turu anchoring most of the songs, there is a wonderful
timelessness to much of this debut album. The gorgeous "Parts Per
Million" has a sweet bossa nova vibe over a layered vocal. The
atmospheric "Springtime She Waits" has an eerie goth vibe. "Somebody"
has a crunching guitar line alternating with a bright keyboard riff, and
just like the instrumentation, the duet vocals play dueling styles; Turu's
vocals seem rather detached and cold (but in a cool way) while Hiram's seem
more nakedly vulnerable.
"Tonight" has a buzzing melody, though Turu's
hiccupping vocal and the chorus are strangely reminiscent of the Rolling
Stone's "She's So Cold." More interesting is the new wave obsession of
"You Want Him."
So maybe before they board up the old Country Blue
Grass and Blues joint, someone sign up the Human Value to take the stage.