Malcolm Middleton’s ‘Human Don’t Be Angry’ album is out now and available on deluxe heavy vinyl, cd and digital download.
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. THE LIST [4/5]
Malcolm Middleton’s announcement of his intention to “try something different” after he was done with 2009’s ‘Waxing Gibbous’ might have seemed an endeavour fated to be undone by his own all-pervading Malcolm Middleton-nes. Here the Scottish arch-miserablist has succeeded admirably. For, while ‘HDBA’ is a largely instrumental affair, one whose main musical cues are taken from ’80s power-pop and which only sparingly uses Middleton’s calling-card – that misanthropic, oddly comforting Caledonian burr – it’s a substantial and rewarding work: ‘Asklipiio’, for one, is up there with his very best. NME [8/10]