The Human Value - Give Me
Alex Worsnip 19/09/2006
LA's The Human Value have a more than a whiff of the contrived about them. Accompanying this single is a preposterous press release which asks "What makes the flesh? What makes the pulse of a heart? What moves the mind? What causes it all to fall apart?", seemingly oblivious to the fact that the record contained within is not an exercise in platitudinous psuedo-philosophy but actually a very straightforward rock and roll song. But yet the song itself is incredibly sheeny and overproduced, so that its guitar growl has the effect of one of those huge synths in a Britney Spears song, rather than any kind of actual edge. No doubt this is the work of Grammy award-winning producer Neal Pogue, and his being enlisted suggests there are some real dollars behind this band.
This is incredibly radio-ready, but for my money, it isn't the kind of music which wants to sound radio-ready, and so I'm nevertheless sceptical of its success. It's along the lines of The Raveonettes after some serious scrubbing up singing a Stock, Aitken and Waterman hit-machine track. It's actually not bad, certainly catchy and a relatively fun song which lodges itself in the brain better than most work of this ilk, a sultry female vocal intoning the hook as it's meant to be sung. But it's so incredibly sanitised that what could have been a reasonably good alt-rock single ends up sounding...well, actually quite odd, really - because when punk-pop crossed over into the manufactured mainstream it at least made sense, whereas with garage-rock it somewhat defeats the point. They allude to some very credible 70s punk and new wave influences, but this is a million miles away from a DIY ethos.