Three years ago, ‘Planet Shhh!’ was unleashed, the debut album from heartening punk-orchestral project Human Pyramids. The whole composition was conjured up in his spare time by Paul Russell, guitarist of Axes, writing out instrumental lines on a computer and gathering friends together to record bits and pieces of it. As Paul revealed in last week’s exclusive interview, “I went to my friend’s house who played the cello; I didn’t know any viola players so she’d play an octave higher and that was a viola… then she would play violin and second violin…”. It was the foundation of a truly modern orchestra, strings and bass and percussion all the tinkering levers of an underlying punk band machinery driving the entire album along.
Now ‘Home’ is here, heralding a truly explorative process for Paul and the band in carving out the niche of their sound. Let’s pay homage to some of the great influences behind this new album: Rod Jones from Idlewild helping with guitars, Pete Harvey arranging strings and Simon Dobson weaving together the brass. Big names; big effect. As Paul admits, “On ‘Planet Shhh!’, the notes were either on or off – the strings were either playing or not. So now, it’s like ‘how loud do you want them?”.
The sound is evidently fuller and broader. ‘Louise’ is the embodiment of their journey, a real avant-garde-orchestral demonstration of Human Pyramids‘ unabridged energy; 20 seconds in and it already feels like three genres have been spanned. The boldness of the brass and syncopation in ‘Crackle Pop’ and the gyrating drive and pushing tremolo of ‘Your Flag’ are just a couple of the highlights of this album. The influences that bring ‘Home’ together hone precisely the sound Paul Russell wants to bring to Human Pyramids, an affair between punk rock and classical.
Both of the Human Pyramids’ albums are beasts of their own. There’s a real tinkering innocence in ‘Planet Shhh!’, hard to quantify, but simple to feel – it’s that element which makes Human Pyramids ‘joyous’. ‘Home’ is a symphonic performance, trading some of its early peppy sound for significant layering and substance. But always, the band’s talent will ultimately reside in their thriving live energy. Human Pyramids shows that with ‘Home’ there is still so much more that the project has to give, and that there’s a entirely new and exciting dimension opening up for their recorded and live sound alike.
‘Home’ by Human Pyramids is out now via Three Mile Town Records.