Fightstar - Be Human

Craig Broad 31/05/2009

Rating: 4/5

Be Human sees Fightstar return with their third long player and their first release since parting company with Gut Records to gain more artistic control on their own label, created in partnership with their management company, Search and Destroy. Alongside this bold move is the choice behind the record's production: where previously the band have put faith in Colin Richardson, Be Human sees them producing themselves alongside long time friend of the band Carl Brown (guitarist for Laruso). Do such adventurous choices continue to add to the popularity that the band have steadily built since the release of 2005's EP 'They Liked You Better When You Were Dead' or do they dampen Fightstar's high ambitions?

The first thing to note on Be Human is how grandiose it actually is. After having two albums claim success amongst critics and have the band grabbing for the top spot of great UK band, it would be easy for Fightstar to quite simply give up and churn another album out; instead, Be Human sees them grow further from 'One Day Son, This Will All Be Yours', taking all of its epic orchestral moments and taking them to an even higher level which, given the change in production handling, is an even greater feat than previously would be imagined. Singles 'The English Way' and 'Mercury Summer' show the group in a place unheard before, bringing together their undeniable song writing talent along with a positive outlook that Fightstar have been unable to show before now, both of which lead to a flirting with a mainstream sound that will no doubt have radio shows and mainstream CD sale charts biting at their toes.

Fightstar delving towards the mainstream has the potential however to alienate themselves from their fans. They are no longer the 'post-hardcore' band that they were original claimed to be and previous fans will find no gut wrenching screams here. On the other hand, while they're toying with the mainstream, they haven't sold their dog to be a part of it and thus on Be Human there isn't a song that will have the masses humming or singing along to all summer.

Be Human, ultimately, is a band comfortable with their abilities but pushing and evolving to become something more. While the change may not be appreciated by older fans and not yet adopted by the masses, there is no doubt that Charlie Simpson and co should and will be respected and rewarded for consistently trying to push their own boundaries in a scene where bands are more than happy to underachieve. Let's just hope that they continue to push on and be one of bright stars of British alternative music.