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Fightstar - Be Human

Fightstar, Be Human

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

BE Human, the new album from Fightstar, is a truly strange beast. Epic, intimate, hard-rocking and poppy, it’s an ambitious effort that refuses to sit still and make it easy to pigeon-hole.

If anything, the post-hardcore act – fronted by Charlie Simpson of Busted fame – have graduated to a rock-opera style of sound, having incorporated an orchestra for the first time.

But Be Human is more than just an ambitious attempt to become the new Meatloaf. Rather, it’s the sound of a band spreading its wings to broaden its sound, confound expectation and generally have fun now that they’ve decided to become the masters of their own destiny.

After parting company with Gut Records, the band decided to release Be Human in partnership with their management company, Raw Power, on a brand new label – Search And Destroy. And the decision enabled them to throw off the shackles and really take control creatively.

The result, while still a rock album at its core, impresses by mere virtue of its diversity. The excitement builds from the start, with an orchestral arrangement ushering in the opening track Calling On All Stations to impressive effect.

A rousing female chorus flits in and out of the piledriving The English Way to further augment the sound of an otherwise straight-forward rock-stomper, while Rugby School’s Sixth Form choir provided the choral harmonies to the slow-building epic War Machine, to emerge as another favourite.

And just before you think the band are becoming a little too pretentious, the poppier side of the LP is evident on Never Change, a breezy rock-pop foot-stomper that channels the energy of The Cure at their most pleasing early on, before unleashing a slightly heavier chorus.

Elsewhere, the hardcore element of the band is evident on Colours Bleed To Red, Chemical Blood and Damocles – the latter of which finds them finally giving into some Goth-style chanting.

But even then, such moments are interspersed with crowd-pleasing, radio-friendly blasts such as Mercury Summer (a slice of Californian sunshine inspired rock-pop harmony), or slower, more brooding efforts such as the album closer Follow Me Into The Darkness (a song that even invites favourable comparisons to bands such as Queen and Muse).

Be Human confirms that Fightstar have come a long way since being known merely as the band fronted by Charlie of Busted. They’re now a major force in their own right and one of the UK rock scene’s most interesting acts.

Download picks: Calling On All Stations, The English Way, War Machine, Mercury Summer, Follow Me Into The Darkness

Track listing:

  1. Calling On All Stations
  2. The English Way
  3. War Machine
  4. Never Change
  5. Colours Bleed to Red
  6. The Whisperer
  7. Mercury Summer
  8. Give Me The Sky
  9. Chemical Blood
  10. Tonight We Burn
  11. Damocles
  12. Follow Me Into The Darkness