You only need to listen to the first couple of bars of the self-titled albums opening track (‘When I Come To’) to realise that Here Lies Man are tapping into a stream of music that on the one side you never knew existed but on the other, you never knew you craved like heroine. Combining the influences of Black Sabbaths fuzzed out guitars with the polyrhythms of Afrobeat, Here Lies Man breathes new life into a sometimes stagnant genre, tackling it from a rhythmic percussive perspective that builds on the repetitive nature of psychedelic-rock riffs rather than leans on it.
Looking no further than ‘I Stand Alone’ to experience the electrifying effect of the shuffling percussion underneath aggressive riffs and fuzzy guitar tones. The thing I love about this record is how effortlessly these seemingly disassociated elements actually work together, providing a feeling of pace and fluidity with the percussion while giving you just enough colossal riff to get your hair out and rock.
While a lot of the songs on this record feel like the percussion has developed and progressed around the guitar riff, songs like ‘Belt of the Sun’ offer a more traditional psych-rock feeling as the drums offer a more supportive role, which in some peculiar way feels like a release from the constant shuffle turned gallop that is heard continuously in the record until this point. But, I think that’s some of the beauty that these two differentiated influences possess when they intermingle. On the one side the riffs are strong to hold their own, while on the other the Afrobeat is just as confident by itself without the riff, so when they are interchanged the tonality of the songs may not but the feeling and groove does, which gives the album its own unique feeling of contrast within the album.
I can’t finish this review without talking about the production of Here Lies Man because for me the lo-fi recording not only works in the albums favour but gives it its own unique flavour as the congas occasionally distort in a way that would normally be unacceptable for any other recording, but within the context of Here Lies man provides a certain character that gives it a sonic signature that I would be disappointed to not hear in their future records.
There’s a lot of aspects to this self-titled debut record that really excites me and so far it’s definitely going down as one of my favourites this year, but the thing I think I like most about it is just how unique the combination of these two genres makes their music and how much energy the afro beats give to the fuzzed out stoner riffs. It just works like Nokia…
How It Stacks Up: – 8.5 /10
When I Come To
I Stand Along
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
Belt of the Sun
Here Lies Man
Record Label: Riding Easy Records
Follow: Here Lies Man