Puny Human- Universal Freak Out
(Small Stone Records SS-076)

From Aural Innovations #39 (May 2008)

The title of Puny Human’s third album, Universal Freak Out, coupled with the cover art featuring aliens, flying saucers and a big In the Court of the Crimson King-like mouth had me ready for something a little bit more spacey and psychedelic than what I got when I listened to the album. Not to say what I heard was bad, it’s just my expectations were set up for something a little more different.

Puny Human come from a stoner rock background, and indeed this is heavy in a stoner way, but amped up with frantic energy, unlike stoner rock which tends towards slower grooves than those heard on Universal Freak Out. The band describes their sound as “mixing one part Devo with two parts Deep Purple.” In all honesty, I hear far more of the Deep Purple influence than the Devo one. Even that, though, I think is a bit misleading. Lacking keyboards like Deep Purple had to add that certain spaciness to the sound, leaves the music of Puny Human much rawer than Deep Purple. Maybe it’s the punkish speed and attitude that causes them to cite Devo as an influence, but I don’t really think of Devo as a punk band. Right era, different kind of music. That punkish energy does really come through on a few tracks, especially Party on the 13th Floor. The only time the band gets a little spacey, however is near the end of Made on Mars, perhaps appropriately enough considering the title of the song

Maybe I’m being overly critical here, but that’s not the intent, I’m just trying to keep in mind that this is a webzine dedicated to space rock. Don’t get me wrong, the music is good rockin’, high-energy fun, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll get it here in spades. If you’re looking for something freakier, spaced out and psychedelic, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Puny Human plays straight ahead heavy rock, no muss and no fuss about it.

Check out the record label web site at: http://www.smallstone.com

Vist the band web site at: http://www.punyhuman.com/

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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