Be Human review by Fightstar

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  • Released: Apr 20, 2009
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (40 votes)
Fightstar: Be Human
4

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.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    brokenunder
    an alright album nothing special really i just dont think it is as epic as their last album =/ not really got any stand out songs i dont think
    bowdowntomono
    Really good album, not quite as good as One Day Son and Grand Unification for me, but still, I really like the new style. I love the epic sound they've always had, and putting the orchestra in just enhances that. Though their best songs are still the heavier ones.
    AwesomeDrummer
    Great album, certainly just as good as previous efforts, a good progression in sound, and they're showing some creativity by incorporating The orchestra and choir. Great band, looking forward to seeing them if they come to Australia.
    Build An Army
    I feel as though they have targeted a larger audience this time round with 'Be Human' whereas before they seemed to prefer releasing albums aimed at the fans. Most of the tracks are more upbeat and catchy, perfect for the mainstream market. Thankfully all in keeping with the classic Fightstar drum beats and vocal styles though. First time I heard the album I wasn't so sure what to make of it, I thought as they are still growing and developing as a band they might not be able to pull all the new elements off and make a successful album. At first I didn't think any songs really stood out as being dominant tracks or being favourites however after listening a few times I began to like the new edge they have (including the 16-piece orchestra and more creativity in their guitar work). It does make the songs sound much more "epic" and "grown up". I have started to think that I couldnt chose a favourite song if I had too as I really enjoy listening to all of them. The more I listen, the more I like them all. I think that including more songs in Drop C rather than the Drop D norm gives the orchestra much more space to work with and definitely gives the songs the "Epic" feel Fightstar have been going for. Wish I was seeing them, god damn Uni! =(
    Fly-swatter
    excellent album. I dont think you can compare any of their albums to each other though because they are all completely different. It'll be interesting how they can transform this into a live show...but ill see on the 6th (for the fifth time of seeing them)
    hugh20
    Carl6661 wrote: I saw these guys yesterday (: They put on an amazing show, and the new album is pretty awesome in my opinion.
    nice, i'm seeing them in 12 days.
    Chrisiphone
    Tomozaurus wrote: Best album ever.
    I wouldn't push it that far. It's a lot more poppier imo than the previous albums. That said i'm going to see them live soon. Busted rock!
    Felkara
    I wouldn't say their best, for me, nothing can top Grand Unification for me, but I think now they've truly embraced their progressive side with this album. It's brilliant.
    Carl6661
    I saw these guys yesterday (: They put on an amazing show, and the new album is pretty awesome in my opinion.
    lukegjpotter
    Oh and I really like how they left Island Records because they wanted them to do a more Pop-ier album!! Which is the reason the Chaz left Busted.
    lukegjpotter
    Eyeball-Tickler wrote: Busted were better
    Are you serious?? Busted were for girls ONLY!! This is album is great, "Tonight We Burn", "Mercury Summer" and "Follow Me Into The Darkness" are deadly.
    picopunk
    This album is awesome. Defantly the right direction. I feel if they continued with the styles of the last album their sound might wear thin. But the orchestra just adds another awesome layer. Still post hardcore but its got some awsome new fightstar elements.
    rko
    orrow_ wrote: Its my least favourite of theirs for me. Having the orchestra and the choirs seems to have taken a lot of creative attention away from the other instruments and I find them quite generic because of it. Having said that, I still quite like the album, but it just doesnt measure up to the previous efforts for me.
    My thoughts exactly
    orrow_
    Its my least favourite of theirs for me. Having the orchestra and the choirs seems to have taken a lot of creative attention away from the other instruments and I find them quite generic because of it. Having said that, I still quite like the album, but it just doesnt measure up to the previous efforts for me.
    Whisperer
    This album is a very big step from One Day Son and Grand Unification, and I think its a step in a good direction, although Grand Unification was amazing! But yeah Be Human is the best album on my shelf at the moment, Can't stop listening to the songs, and playing along