Released via their own label Cool Thing Records, fun and frustration fuels Essex rockers Asylums‘ brand new album, Alien Human Emotions. The band’s sophomore record is a turbulent, tenacious collection of tracks that buzz with enthusiasm and self-awareness.
After the success of their critically-acclaimed debut Killer Brain Waves in 2016, the indie rockers have embarked on another aural adventure. Presented differently, the tracks on Alien Human Emotions could shrink your heart with sadness, but Asylums’ DIY ethic and riotous delivery makes this record a hopeful, heart-swelling affair.
The album kicks off with ‘Day Release To The Moon’, documenting a grand, but turbulent emotional journey that will “pull us closer to the sun / annihilate everyone”. Jazz’s manic guitar riffs mask the dark side of front-man Luke’s pessimistic wish, before drummer Henry’s relentless percussion punches through on second track ‘When We Wake Up’. The song assaults the senses from start to finish, and fans are guaranteed to mimic the mosh-pit that features in the accompanying video when they hear it live. Luke’s anthemic lyrics invite listeners to take a “front row seat for Armageddon”, which sounds tempting against their back drop of manic guitar noise. ‘Bottle Bank’ follows with more of Jazz’s trademark spiraling riffs and Mike’s thundering bass lines, leaving listeners sweaty and short of breath just three tracks in.
The eponymous ‘Alien Human Emotions’ comprehends emotional black holes via dense bass lines and thoughtful lyrics, before the gentler ‘Millennials’ provides a moment for introspective reflection. Named after a social label that’s doused in negativity, Asylums have reclaimed the term and turned it into a thought provoking, comforting tune. Just as you’re on your way back down to earth, the toxic punk blur of ‘Napalm Bubblegum’ blasts you back into the band’s sonic atmosphere. Luke’s visceral Essex intonation and Henry’s savage drumming provide the ultimate punk infused sound to bounce around your bedroom walls to. ‘Pause’ is an aptly named interlude track – because even Asylums need to take a second to catch their breath sometimes.
‘Graveyard Tourism’ is a distraction from “morbid fascination”, whilst ‘Critical Mass’ urges listeners to “keep pushing along / because the force is strong” amidst more manic guitar noise. The timely ‘Homeowners Guilt’ dissects feelings towards “characterless buildings” and the unfair reality of having to always make sure ends meet, before the penultimate ‘Sexual Automation’ starts the gentle descent down to earth, manically resisting the “impulses you can’t castrate.”
The raw honesty on ‘The Company You Keep’ closes the record on an optimistic note. An ode to true love and friendship and a poignant reminder to appreciate the people around you, it’s a track that remains rooted in your consciousness long after it’s stopped spinning.
Alien in the sense that it blasts you into an sonic universe, but Human in its quest to make sure no listener feels left behind, Asylums’ Alien Human Emotions is an intense, joyful second record that kicks and comforts in equal measure.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kana Waiwaiku