Best AL album to date and a top pick for 2010.
I've been amazed by many aspects of Shikhee's work, be it her astounding use of electronics, her song structures, occassional pop sensibilities and her ability to out-metal certain well known and world famous artists of the alernative/industrial genre. What sets her apart from her male counterparts is her ability to use her voice as an instrument more intriguing than any synth or processed guitar riff. "The Human Animal" as a whole is a collection of well structured, cohesive tracks that provide a consistently enjoyable and interesting experience from beginning to end. The album open withs "Intimate Stranger", then "Rub Me Raw" which represent AL's trademark sound from her previous 2 albums, reminding the listener of who she is and where she is coming from, but from "Saint Over" on, the album seems to open into something different and something AL has always hinted at but never fully exposed - her true potential to create truly epic, well structured, fresh rock songs. Each of AL's previous records have provided glimpses of the power of her voice and songwriting, but never before was it as strong a message. "The Human Animal" doesn't have some of the hard, abrasive (and perhaps self indulgent) songs of "Devour Rise and Take Flight", but such songs aren't missed here. Shikhee has demonstrated her programming and electronics wizardry on her prior releases. What's here is more. She presents a complete, cohesive vision and the contributions of her live band expand the overall sound into something equal to the work of her better known contemporaries and perhaps even her influences. Tracks "Saint Over", "God in the Hole" and "It's On You" rival and perhaps surpass any MM or NIN single put out in the last decade. The numberous vocal tracks used in each of these songs are what really stands out. This is evident in the remix of "God In the Hole", where the vocals are clearer and it almost seems an a capella version could even work based on the strength of her voice alone. The album reaches a climax with "One World", which may be the most moving and genre-breaking song AL has offered to date. As a listener I am left wondering how she can top this?
"The Human Animal" is a creative masterpiece and definitely a top pick for 2010.