Human Movement SplitFat Wreck Chords
By Cole Faulkner
The split album is an interesting creature. Dismissed by many as a place to dump lost b-sides, or a vehicle for reusing existing material, the split doesn’t exactly have a glowing reputation beyond being a cash in for collectors and die hard fans. But Milwaukee pop-punker innovators Direct Hit! and rising UK hardcore punk powerhouse PEARS seem to be out to change that. The two notable young bands come together to bring us Human Movement, a split composed of five new tracks and a cover each. A closer look reveals that perhaps Human Movement best described as a collaborative project more than a compilation.
Human Movement works so well because each band’s contributions feel as if strategically selected to complement the other. This agenda first became clear when the bands released a joint music video featuring both “Blood on Your Tongue” and “Arduous Angel.” The video serves as a well produced narrative, featuring moments of dialogue and story development that drive each band to consider one another’s strengths. Considering that each band commands a distinct style, they each seem to take a step towards common ground. In the case of the aforementioned tracks, PEARS draws upon Direct Hit!’s melodic nature, making for one of the band’s catchiest tunes to date. For a band known for their frayed angular presence, PEARS takes risks and infuses a little more structure. But Human Movement is a two way street, with Direct Hit! diving deep into the pool of frenetic belted hardcore and refusing to come up for air on opener “You Got What You Asked For” and again on closer “Nothing.” Direct Hit! has always had an edge, but this delivery just feels altogether rawer, and heavily inspired by PEARS presence. Each band maintains their own distinct identity but isn’t shy to branch out in the context of the split.
Also of note, the bands offer original takes on one another’s tunes. Direct Hit! covers PEARS’ heavy thrasher “You’re Boring,” infusing their melodic essence in the chorus, but otherwise remaining rough and ragged as per the original. Meanwhile, PEARS offer a cover of “The World is Ending,” but if you notice melodies and verses lifted from “Buried Alive” and Masked Intruder’s “Heart-Shaped Guitar,” you would be correct – making “The World is Ending” more of a raw and energetic pop-punk mashup than a straight on cover.
There are more reasons to check out Human Movement than I have the time and space to cover in this review, but rest assured, PEARS and Direct Hit! have crafted something special. The willingness to collaborate, play off one others’ strengths, and stretch beyond their comfort zones as musicians speaks to how much fun listeners stand to have tuning in to Human Movement. If you’re weary of splits, then Human Movement is the disc that may just change your thinking.