Sound — 10
The band has certainly spread their wings creatively for third album, Be Human. They introduce a full 16-piece orchestra and two vocal choirs which in many ways was a risk, but it has succeeded without doubt. Overall the record has a very cinematic and soundtrack-like feel to it with all the new elements found here, but crucially they don't abandon the root of their original sound.
Efforts range from mid-paced rockers (Calling On All Stations, The English Way), epic builders which use the orchestration to magnificent effect (War Machine, Give Me The Sky, Follow Me Into The Darknes), high octane heaviness (Colours Bleed To Red, Chemical Blood, Damocles) and some of their lighter efforts to date (Never Change, Mercury Summer, Tonight We Burn). They also experiment with the Muse-esq mid-album track, Whisperer, which has a foot tapping beat and hooky guitars. All the styles covered mean that while as a full listen it isn't quite as coherent as previous efforts, it never strays into a bland or formulaic experience. Full credit must be given for the sheer ambition and execution of the ideas put forward here.
Lyrics — 8
Lyrically, the album is perhaps the bands most positive and uplifting set of tracks thus far in their short career. "The English Way" is an optimistic take on trying to reclaim national pride and traditions. "Mercury Summer", "Give Me The Sky" and "Tonight We Burn" are all about being happy in love. However, things are nicely mixed up as the band also dip into subject's such as anti-war ("War Machine"), knife crime in the UK ("Damocles") and anti-establishment with "Calling On All Stations". Main vocal duties are once again performed by Simpson, with Westaway only taking over main duties on the electronic "Tonight We Burn". The double harmonies work best on tracks like "Colours Bleed To Red" and "Mercury Summer". Simpson's deep and husky voice clashes against Westaway's softer tones extremely well. However, it would have been nice to hear the latter a bit more throughout the whole album.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this album is an extremely impressive effort from the London four-piece. They keep expanding and pushing the boundaries with their song writing and with all the different styles attempted throughout the 12 tracks, it provides a compelling listen. The orchestra plays a huge part throughout and adds a new dimension all together, it makes the whole album feel like a big journey from start to finish. This is definitely a new direction for the band as they successfully combine the heavy, the soft and the epic all into 46 minutes.