Humans The Size Of Microphones
Human Crop Circles LP

01. No One Gets Out Of Here Alive
02. At War With The Daily Mail
03. Breaking Up
04. Fucking Tsunami
05. Pissing Like A Racehorse
06. Not Exactly Rocket Science
07. Limitless Stupidity
08. I See The World Through Rose Coloured Testicles
09. Dying For An Audience
10. Not In Our Name

HTSOM, although an obscure noughties-era UK outfit that didn't get out of the South coast area much, were utterly amazing. A crashing, bashing, chaotic agglomeration of old-skool Ebullition styled emo, their live shows were legendary, and not just because they sometimes wore massive afro wigs or the bassist used an old sweatshirt for a strap. Drummer John recorded this at his own studio, where various luminaries such as Electric Wizard, No, Facel Vega, Hunting Lodge and Field Boss have also recorded. HTSOM were in fact slated to do a split with Electric Wizard at one point.

Recorded at Chuckalumba Studios

Release date 08/04/16.

Co-released with De Graanrepubliek

Ltd. to 147 copies on black.

John T Baptist - Drums / Transport
Pete Sake - Guitar/ Tractor Driving
James Hasbeen - Bass / Fresh Herbs

The Quietus
Human Crop Circles is a retrospective ten-song LP by Humans The Size Of Microphones: an early-00s band from Southampton who accrued a fabled reputation despite, or because of, rarely being seen or heard. While the audience for this marginal Brit-emo excavation is likely small and specific, the labels Superfi and Graanrepubliek have done the Lord’s work in assembling it. HTSOM’s niche was emotional hardcore, musically adjacent to American bands on labels like Ebullition and Witching Hour (vocalist Pete Osmond ran a distro in the 90s that carried this sort of thing when it was otherwise unobtainable in the UK) but with a distinctly British wit. Fears of offputting zaniness, such as a song called ‘I See The World Through Rose Tinted Testicles’, are allayed by a satisfyingly sharp way with phrasing and imagery. “The four horsemen of the apocalypse now/ Ignore the one way system in the centre of town,” states ‘No One Gets Out Alive’, one of five unheard-until-now songs recorded in 2005. If that reads to you like it might be a bit tricky to fit into a tune, HTSOM are helped in this regard by their spasmodic, chaotic approach – roughly in the orbit of Mohinder and Heroin, but with longer songs and a lurching noiserock undercarriage that sometimes reminds me of an emo Part Chimp (of all things). The album’s other five tracks were originally released as a demo CD in 2002, and address that year’s myopic conflict in Afghanistan from an anti-war perspective; emo has a tendency to favour introspection over politics, but not these guys. Humans The Size Of Microphones hid their light under a bushel during their time together, yet in this reporter’s opinion they’ve aged more robustly than most of the British punk underground of ten to 15 years ago. Peers can recall them fondly, everyone else can thrill to them for the first time.

Crossed Letters
Wow, die Gitarren sägen schonmal ordentlich los, auch das Schlagzeug macht massiv Dampf, das erinnert an alte Ebullition/Gravity-Emocore-Bands. Zwischen Skramz und Screamo passen aber immer wieder dick melodische emotive Hardcore-Gitarren, die schön Wall Of Sound-mäßig und fett abgemischt aus den Lautsprechern kriechen und Dich an die Wand drücken. Und jetzt das Traurige: soweit ich das verstanden habe, existiert diese UK-Band längst nicht mehr , die Jungs waren wohl in den Nullerjahren bekannt für ihre ausufernden Live-Shows. Auf der LP befinden sich die 5-Song-Demo und 5 bisher unveröffentlichte Songs, absolut zeitlos. Schönes Zeitdokument, da solltet ihr mal reinlauschen.

Human Crop Circles is an album which just highlights how difficult it is to be noticed in the music scene. Released by SuperFire Records in conjunction with De Graanrepubliek, the album comes from Humans The Size Of Microphones, a British hardcore/noise rock band around in the first years of this new century. Their reputation and presence did not carry too far outside of the South coast area of the UK it is fair to say and maybe without any expectations of success at some point called it a day, a disbandment we are assuming as no search came up with anything active from the band or, to be honest, about them at all. As Human Crop Circles quickly reveals, this is a crying shame as its songs simply provide one furiously thrilling and rousing incitement of ears and imagination. At one point slated to do a split with Electric Wizard, it is hard to imagine that HTSOM did not make some major impressions on someone somewhere. An early self-released five-track demo did appear in 2002, though it too probably got lost in the mists of criminal neglect. Recorded by the band’s drummer John T Baptist in his own studio, where the likes of Electric Wizard, No, Facel Vega, Hunting Lodge, and Field Boss have also recorded, Human Crop Circles has thankfully been uncaged to right some wrongs and introduce a new wealth of ears to the rather wonderful and mercurial tempest of sound that is Humans The Size Of Microphones. The album bursts into life with Pissing Like A Racehorse where climactic guitars and tenacious rhythms crowd ears for an incendiary start which is soon an even more enjoyably volatile affair as vocals cries and a bedlamic character expose themselves in the mix. The early urgency settles a touch without defusing the now psychotic maelstrom and air of the song, but rises again as seriously addictive bass and guitar enterprise casts a web of sonic psychosis which in turn breeds greater ferocity in the noise punk tempest. It is glorious stuff, like a mix of Melvins, Neurosis, Halfling’s Leaf, and Dope Body; the kind of comparisons which occur often across the release. The brilliant start is as potently backed up by No One Gets Out Of Here Alive, another magnetic slice of noise imagination and punk attitude as raw and seductive as it is magnetically and antagonistically inflamed. From the first pair of sonically intricate yet bullishly demanding songs alone it is hard to know how the band escaped attention but equally just an example of so many other stories of now lost to the world special bands. The post-hardcore textured Middle England (Eats it’s Young) steps up next, its initial emotive wash the prelude to a tantalising weave of mystique soaked grooves and bolshie yet anthemic group vocal tempting amidst muscularly tenacious rhythms and mesmeric sonic devilment. It is more than a match for the already established pinnacles of the album and almost equalled by the following flirtatious seducing shared by The Smell of Wet Leaves. Sludgy and predatory but also alive with veins of sultry melodic grooving, the track shares an early dark and catchy lure which subsequently gets turned on its head by caustic energy and creative ferocity before re-establishing itself in another smouldering passage within the eventful encounter. Without quite having the final spark to turn personal tastes lusty, the track still leaves pleasure full in its presence before being over shadowed by the outstanding Fucking Tsunami. The fifth track just grips and thrills ears from its first bestial bassline and swiping rumble of beats; bass and drums becoming puppeteer of body and passions whilst leading both into the concussive and hellacious exploits of the song’s full body and heart. The sonic and emotive turbulence is exhausting and breath-taking, as too the twisted melodic resourcefulness which lines every twist in the track’s dervish like shuffle. As in all songs, drama comes with every moment and unpredictable turn too; here devilishly enhancing the punk meets post punk meets noise rock triumph of the song. The bass and rhythmic unity of James Hasbeen and Baptist respectively ensures the track has instincts involved, the almost corrosive sonic endeavour of guitarist Pete Sake (all names as fun as the sounds fair to say) just reinforcing the persuasion. The final quintet of tracks come from that aforementioned demo, each a harsher and more abrasive proposal but all carrying the inventive and multi-flavoured traits that give character to all tracks. Not Exactly Rocket Science is a rousing affair of aurally poisonous punk rock whilst Limitless Stupidity is an insatiable deluge of barbarous rhythms aligned to hostility flamed riffs and vocals further blessed with spicy hooks. The pair ensures ears and appetite continue to be well fed though maybe not as dramatically as the outstanding sonic invasion of I See The World Through Rose Coloured Testicles, an uncompromising and bewitching instrumental that just gets the tongue licking lips. The pair of Dying For An Audience and Not In Our Name bring the album to a close; the first a fibrous net of riffs and acidic grooves which wraps ears before closing ranks for another bruising and inhospitable storm of hardcore whilst its successor with matching sonic antipathy, spews a tangle of punk hooks and spiky grooves around a battlefield of rhythms. With vocals just as agreeably rancorous, the duo provides a fine end to a great and welcome surprise introduction to a band we had no idea existed. Maybe they will again as Human Crop Circles invades more and more ears but even if that optimistic hope is not realised, punk and noise rock enthusiasts need to have Humans The Size Of Microphones somewhere in their historical landscapes.