Human Impact Pack Grippingly Anxious, Noisy Punk On Crushing Debut Album

The lineup of the new NYC-area group Human Impact features Chris Spencer from Unsane, Jim Coleman and Phil Puleo from Cop Shoot Cop, and Chris Pravdica of Xiu Xiu and Swans (the latter of whom Puleo has also performed with), so you know it’s going to be a both exciting and pretty noisy time.

The quartet delivers big time while also expanding upon and newly intermingling their roots. There’s the blistering and boundary-less sonic irreverence of noise rockers like Unsane and tons of other greats, but here, it’s funneled through wistfully antsy, experimentally contorted melodic structures and other unique flourishes, like the electronics that pop up throughout the album. Because of the powerfully pulsating core and the dejected, subtly chaotic environment, listening to Human Impact’s now available, self-titled debut album feels a bit like anxiously wandering through some volatile and dangerous trash-strewn streets and alleyways. Is there a light at the end of the either literal or metaphorical tunnel? Who knows.

Human Impact quickly proves a definitively both groovy and twisted album that feels occupied with probing the muck in the proverbial corner that might otherwise be left behind. Punk melody twists in and out of noise rock derangement topped off by fittingly aggressive shouts from Spencer. On “Consequences,” he sings “something’s wrong in this place,” and you’ve just gotta take him incredibly seriously. His own earnest cadence and the lurches in the rest of the music all sound incredibly sincere.

There’s a steady stream of pretty heavy bass lines running through the mix, but they feel contorted, and sometimes, they’re ominously hanging almost entirely alone, with distortions scraping across the listener’s vantage point. In a mark of the general style across the album, “E605” features a steady churn of spacey-sounding noodling atop a persistently rather sharp edge of searing punk, and at least for those moments, the core elements sit front and center. Nothing is too complicated — it’s all both clear and crisp and heavy and rocking. Together, the members of Human Impact feel like they’ve turned metallic punk melody turned into a soundscape of desperation — which feels nicely highlighted by the strangely alluring cacophonous crash of uneasily upending guitar and gradually intensifying drum blasts on “Portrait.”

“Respirator” gets a bit jazzy, at least structure-wise — keys slide into crunches of groove with swaggering helpings of heavier riffing in between. Ultimately, Human Impact and their debut record feel like rabidly experimental noise rock for the everyday, like it’s the soundtrack to pondering what the hell is going on.

5/5 Stars

Check out the new album below! It’s out via Ipecac Recordings