Some bands are meant to be listened to on records, the technology allowing their soundscapes to entrance the listener and let the production shine. Others, however, are best suited to be listened to in a live setting – the bass throbbing, the guitars distorted, the vocals imperfect. Australia’s sextet UV Race undoubtedly falls into that second category, as Homo‘s cacophonous jangling sounds aren’t exactly the most pleasing to the ears. While the appeal of the haphazard organ, energetic stream of consciousness monologues, and frequent noise breakdowns in a small venue is seriously tempting, the best efforts to translate a surely fun show to Homo ultimately come up short.
After getting past the album title, the fifth song’s title “Nazicistic” picks up the torch. It actually presents some of the album’s highest points, with its beginning guitar riff being one of Homo‘s cleanest and the harmonica adding to the entertainment of such an outlandish play on words. “Nazicistic”‘s disintegration into clattering noise at the end of the song also demonstrates how the album works on the whole: it starts off with catchy melodies, sloppily adds and organ and pounding drums, then becomes monotonous and indistinguishable. Opener “Girl in My Head” and standout “Lost My Way”‘s surfy atmosphere and backup vocals present fun, Stooges-indebted tunes whose brief tenures get toes tapping and heads nodding. “Burn That Cat”‘s absurdity and “Down Your Street”‘s appalling vocal performance, though, negate these successes. The last third of the album runs together into a mass of noise, the tracks inseparable from each other.
All of the murk and mire of the previous nine tracks disappear with the last song, a seven minute epic sharing the album’s name. Featuring an anthemic shouting spelling of ‘homo’, a ceaseless grooving bass line and a characteristic noisy guitar solo, “Homo” is UV Race at their best. If each song on Homo was as tight and compelling as its titular song, the album would be phenomenal. Instead, alas, we’re left with a tease of what this band can be, a mixed bag of songs and, yet, still an inexplicable hankering to see how Homo sounds live.