SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #141 : HUMAN DON’T BE ANGRY

This review from The List magazine back in March 2012 sums it up best:-

In the bowels of a radioactive pop bunker somewhere between Glasgow and Falkirk, Malcolm Middleton has spent 18 months incubating a (super) heroic alter-ego.

We all thought we knew the mild-mannered Middleton – sublime melodist with Arab Strap; acclaimed creator of solo albums like A Brighter Beat and Into The Woods – but behind the smile and modest beard, there throbbed the fluorescent brain of an ambient 80s overlord. He was hatching a plan for interplanetary domination, as soundtracked by the Art of Noise, Tangerine Dream, Whitesnake and Top Gun, and his plotting has borne brilliant fruit in the guise of Human Don’t Be Angry.

From the gorgeous alt-MOR swell of ‘Monologue: River’ to the lambent riffs and glimmering krautrock of ‘First Person Singular, Present Tense’ – not to mention the discombobulating art-pop thrill of ‘1985’ – Human Don’t Be Angry is a captivating, drum-embracing beast. It is fortified by guitar-fuelled instrumental adventures (‘The Missing Plutonium’), Frankie Goes to Hollywood homages (‘After the Pleasuredome’) and a fitting widescreen leitmotif (‘HDBA Theme’).

While Middleton’s solo lyrics are typified by self-deprecation, Human Don’t Be Angry’s vocalisms are more forthright, driven and loved-up. ‘I’m coming your way,’ he threatens on the cosmic marital aria, ‘Asklipiio’. Human, gird thy loins.

It was a well-received work, one which made the ten-strong shortlist for the Scottish Album of the Year, but it didn’t sell anything near as many copies as his guitar-focussed albums.

mp3 : Human Don’t Be Angry – H.D.B.A. Theme

There was a follow-up effort, Electric Blue, released in 2015, which was available exclusively on vinyl via Malcolm’s website and limited to 500 copies.  I’ve got one and here’s a track from it:-

mp3 : Human Don’t Be Angry – Cottage Syndrome

One which starts off at a deceptively slow pace for an opening near two minutes before turning into something really inventive and infectious, including some great use of swear words around the five minute marks.  Kind of similar in places to the solo work of Steve Mason (Beta Band, King Biscuit Time). Trust me, it’ll grow on you!!

JC

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