Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

cover art

Human Eye

4: Into Unknown

(Goner; US: 14 May 2013; UK: 30 Apr 2013)

Human Eye frontman Timmy Vulgar has long been fascinated with sci-fi, with aliens, with what’s out there in space—see the title of the last Human Eye record, They Came From The Sky—and that hasn’t changed much on 4: Into Unknown. What has changed, though, as the title also implies, is the control Vulgar and his band have over their sound. They have blossomed (or transformed) into something far bigger than the garage rock they have often been lumped in with. 4: Into Unknown is the band’s most ambitious and successful album to date, handling swampy blues-rock (“Gettin’ Mean”), spaced-out rock-ballad heroics (“Surface of Pluto”) and even giant prog-rock vamping (“Outlaw Lone Wolf”) with a staggering mix of ambition and craft. They can still deal in the lean eccentrics they made their name on—check “Juicy Jaw”’—but what sets this record apart is that, instead of Vulgar’s winking imaginations of what’s beyond his comprehension, beyond his scope of understand, the music itself pushes past its logical borders to find new and impressive heights in the band’s sound. There’s an unabashed dramatic size to, say, “Alligator Dance”, but it’s a drama that fits these big songs and never tips too far into schlock. Human Eye has been slowly building their name, and this record is their loudest shout for us to take them seriously, and we should listen. Turns out they just needed to take their talent seriously first for us to follow.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

Human Eye - Gettin' Mean
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2015 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.