Review: Android Lust – The Human Animal

So much of what we review, even the material we enjoy – hell, even the material we adore – enjoyed an oft-predictable quality to it. Nothing inherently wrong with that; predictability breeds comfort and often what we seek in music is pure, out-and-out comfort. But sometimes we want to be challenged. Sometimes we want music to slap us across the back if the head and say ‘pay attention’, there’s something interesting going on here, something unique, something utterly true.

Android Lust (Shikhee) has always challenged us, always made us notice what they (she) wants to convey. There is never much subtlety in AL songs, it rides a wave of emotion, of pure, guttural id. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes truly ugly, but always powerful.

With The Human Animal, Android Lust has delivered her best, most complete work to date. She still manages to surprise even after more than a decade on the scene. Recorded with her live band for the first time, her sound seems nicely fleshed out but without compromising the studio integrity we have come to expect from her. This is still very much an electronic album and one of the most interesting of the year.

We’ve become so used to the distortion used on Shikhee’s voice, it’s always a bit of a shock to hear how lovely her voice is when it’s left alone a bit. On the languid, slinky “A New Heaven” she sounds beautiful, on the dare-we-say pretty “The Return” she reduced her powerful instrument to an almost whisper and it’s chillingly effective.

From the bubbling synth base line of the terrific turnabout song “It’s On You” (Did I burn your hand?/It’s on you/Did I still your land/It’s on you/Was I talking down/It’s on you/Did I hide, did I run) to the oddly sexy, but rough “Rub Me Raw” the emotional wreckage in these often discordant songs leaves you almost shaken after a straight-through listen. But that’s just it – no one is writing with this kind of intensity these days. She dares you not to sit up and take notice and once you do, you are hooked. A sometimes difficult, but ultimately gorgeous album, The Human Animal shows us just how far she can push herself. She truly gets better with each album and she’s scaled a new peak here.


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