The opening track of 100 Percent Human, from the British duo Pocket Size, sports a loopy marimba-like rhythm that brings to mind a National Geographic special or the lost Romancing the Stone background music. When Liz Ovis’ voice—a mesmerizing slice of Sheryl Crow with Shirly Manson, Joni Mitchell, and Chrissy Hynde on top—and utility musician Darren Pearson’s drum loops, hand claps and acoustic guitar come in, however, “Human Touch,” with it’s feel good lyrics and frightening catchiness, paves the way for an astounding pop/country/electronica-lite accomplishment.
The influences are hard to escape (Eurythmics, Eurythmics, Eurythmics), but like successful bands do, Pocket Size wears them on their sleeves with sheepish pride and to the best results. Voice similarities outstanding, this really does often sound like a Sheryl Crow album, with a bit of British savvy and more apparent appreciation for dance music. Make no mistake though: this is an utter pop effort. You won’t find Kraftwerk or the Chemical Brothers here, but the influence, however slight and in the background, is there. And while it’s more bouncy and adventurous than many of Crow’s songs, an equal folk/pop sensibility is still apparent.
The bottom line is that pop is a vast, all-encompassing genre which means different things in different situations. Hence, this album is difficult to pinpoint. While the first half of the record breezes through summertime bubble-gum pop and rock spliced ditties, the latter half, with songs like “Stay Till the End” and “No Nothing,” embrace more diverse, alterna-swagger territory. Regardless, 100 Percent Human works all the way through. It’s an altogether swirling affair that is utterly complete and satisfying. Sweet dreams are made of this.
// Notes from the Road
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