Fightstar - Be Human (2009)

The spectre of Busted has hung over Charlie Simpson and
Fightstar for five years, but with this ambitious,
accomplished and surprisingly moving third effort, the memory
of synchronised jumps, school uniforms and screaming hordes of
tweenie fans should be finally banished.

Because this is the record Charlie Simpson was born to make.
Fightstars debut Grand Unification hinted at the cinematic
possibilities within Simpson and Westaways harmonies and the
meaty rhythm section while the brutal riffs and maturity
evident in sophomore effort One Day Son, This Will All Be
Yours were let down by an unpalatable amount of filler.

But the only disappointment of note on Be Human comes at its
halfway point, with the Muse-esque stomp of The Whisperer
engaging but out of sync with the rest of this intense and
astral album. With Fightstar having released this LP
themselves and the aforementioned orchestra appearing on
almost every track, its a 50-minute statement of intent, a
dozen songs in which the four-piece declare this is the band
weve always wanted to be. From the opening, orchestral burst
of Calling On All Stations, the Death Cab-meets-Cure emotional
theatrics of Give Me the Sky and the mournful movie script
ending of Follow Me Into Darkness, immersing yourself in the
bipolar world of Be Human is an exhilarating, sometimes
heartstopping journey to revisit for years to come.

The singles are clear highlights and Abidi proves hes one of
the most talented stickmen in rock on Radio 1-playlisted smash
Mercury Summer - inspired by Andy Dufresnes dream of the
beach paradise Zihautanejo in the Shawshank Redemption. On the
hair-raising The English Way, Haighs sleazy bassline rumbles
over angelic choirs, in a pounding example of Fightstars
successful melding of choruses that scream radio friendly
unit shifter with the intensity and passion beloved by the

But its in War Machine that the albums clean, crisp
production, grandiose intentions and dramatics are at their
most emotive - unsurprisingly, the influence of Vangelis
Blade Runner soundtrack is still evident in its deathly
orchestral opening. Its a likeable enough effort but never
exceptional - until its exhilarating climax, that is. Battle
scene strings are married with a fist-aloft Simpson vocal and
a choir seemingly composed of thousands as an ethereal
conflict seems to explode from the speakers. As Miltons War
in Heaven is sonically recreated, a heartening realisation
surfaces - Fightstars symphony isnt just unfinished
greatness is within their reach.

Be Human
Album art: 
Release date: 

1. Calling On All Stations2. The English Way3. War Machine4. Never Change5. Colours Bleed to Red6. The Whisperer7. Mercury Summer8. Give Me The Sky9. Chemical Blood10. Tonight We Burn11. Damocles12. Follow Me Into The Darkness

Music label: 
Search And Destroy
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