Aren’t surprises lovely? Superhumanoids, a virtually unknown Echo Park-based quartet, may have formed in the small confines of a bedroom, but their tunes are huge. Influences include bands as diverse as Neu!, the Beach Boys, the Strokes, and Kate Bush, and the six songs on their debut EP Urgency sound like the results of a musical orgy from all participants.
The krautrock influence shines through the stark, repetitive grooves, but these songs are too dancey and beautiful to fit squarely in that genre. The electric guitars play straight squawks of white hot rhythm. Synths typically dominate sonically, with liquidy swirls of chords forming skeletons. Programmed and live drums interlock into a churning engine of muscle over which bass provides funky melodic relief. The soaring boy/girl harmonies of Cameron Parkins and Sarah Chernoff are too catchy to be considered ambient, but they’re still pretty damn airy.
Urgency is an apt title—Superhumanoids get straight to the point in a trim, refreshingly direct 18 minutes of sonic goodness, a promising tease of future brilliance. “Hey Big Bang”, with its clicky percussion, distorted bass, and vocals that are not only catchy but surprisingly touching, is a highlight from an EP of minor magic. “I’m a human, too!” goes Chernoff in the chorus of “Hey Big Bang”. A valid point: On Urgency, there’s always a pulsing heart behind the stainless steel sound. Maybe they should re-think the band name.