I'm not usually over-impressed by the descriptions bands give to their own sound; the way they invite the reader to imagine some improbable or impossible coming together of musical giants and then boldly stating that THAT is what their records sound like. We've all read them - The Scruttocks take the power & majesty of Nik Kershaw, add the tenderness & subtlety of Judge Dread and infuse their music with the lyrical dexterity of Slayer - that sort of nonsense. Invariably such descriptions tend towards hyperbole; frequently they are utterly baffling; sometimes one detects a tongue firmly planted in cheek; often they're just plain bollocks.
Usually a website blurb that promises: Imagine The Clash jamming with Lou Reed and Kasabian at The Leveller's Beautiful Days festival after a particularly big night out at a Soundgarden gig would have me aiming my mouse towards the little red cross at the top right of the page. But wait! I read on... And then all of a sudden Joe Strummer says, "We need some trombone". Ah, now you're talking - there isn't much that can't be enhanced with a bit of brass.
Such is the promise of Devon band The Humanitarians on their website but does the reality live up to the promise? On the strength of their current single I'm happy, and amazed, to say that on this occasion the reality really does match the purple prose. Title-track Call the Police is an absolute belter of a track; 3 minutes and 20 seconds of stomping guitar, driven drums and parping brass. Caustic lyrics painting an accurate but bleak picture of the Jeremy Kyle society we are spawning should in theory be at odds with the bouncing tune but in practice they work wonderfully well together. Add to this a cracking video featuring pseudo-celebrities, chavs on CCTV, a gorgeous 1974 Ford Consul (and some actors) and you have something I can watch and listen to over and again.
The B-side, Weatherman, begins with Michael Fish famously predicting that it may get a bit breezy but not to worry; an intro that on first listen led me to expect more of the same as was delivered by Call the Police. Weatherman, however, has a very different feel to the A-side, being more folky and melodic yet still driven and insistent. Two tracks of such quality and diversity auger well for the forthcoming album No Law.
The Humanitarians current line up consists of singer, songwriter and guitarist John Mathew, Geoff Dalley on bass, Hayden Jones on drums and Rich Mills providing brass - mostly trombone - and guitar (presumably not at the same time). Rich describes the forthcoming album as "folky tunes rocking hard then veering into reggae breakdowns. Sabbath & Soundgarden influences creep in occasionally alongside The Clash, Specials, Lou Reed, Madness, Blur, Kasabian & Jam influences" and he promises, "it's varied, but it works." That's quite a list of influences and sounds to look out for; personally I prefer to steer away from the 'sounds like...' descriptions but can wholeheartedly agree with Rich's last statement: "It works"! As well as the album there are tracks ready for an EP release to follow soon which "may" include a cover of Al Wilson's The Snake - bloody hope so, I love that tune!
Call the Police / Weatherman is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, with more stores coming online soon. You can hear more of The Humanitarians on Soundcloud and there is also a Facebook group for the single release. The intro on the FB page says, "We're doing this totally independently of record company/label support so any help you can give us is much appreciated." There's so much cack out there that IS getting the support of major labels, media empires, publishers, etc: surely nobody who appreciates great, new REAL music can fail to sympathise with that sentiment. The Humanitarians are producing cracking new music and I hope they get that support. If you like these tracks please share the links to their website, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, etc, ask for them on your radio station of choice but don't forget to buy them too!