Human Pyramids will release their third album ‘Power Pose’ on Christmas Day – and what a festive treat it is. Released by Three Mile Town worldwide and Ricco Records in Japan, the record might just be Axes man Paul Russell’s cinematic, orchestral super group’s most joyous collection of songs to date. Recorded all over Scotland, London and Berlin, the album was mastered by Joe Lambert (Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective) in Jersey City and follows appearances at festivals including 2000 Trees, Glastonbury and End of the Road.
‘4000 Miles’ opens the record with jaunty strings, harmonies and handclaps that soon lead to a Broken Social Scene-style climax. The twinkling chamber pop of ‘Volcano’ follows with plucked violin and a layered build-up that takes in stop-start moments and irresistible synths before things quieten down with ‘Lullaby’. This song opens with almost-traditional folk guitar stylings before the big brass section adds extra impetus. Given the release date, ‘Boxing Day’ is conveniently titled and sounds somewhat akin to And So I Watch You From Afar aiming for a chart hit. It’s full of chunky riffs, glitchy electronica and sublime strings.
‘Treacle’ starts off sounding like something from a Disney parade (that’s a compliment) before heading into the kind of festive prog territory that served Mike Oldfield so well in ‘In Dulci Jubilo’. ‘Confetti”s drone-led opening surprisingly makes way for an electro pop banger that Chvrches would be proud to call their own. It’s uplifting, playful and sure to leave you smiling. ‘Memory Map’ has a folky opening with vocal harmonies and hummable melodies, while ‘Wisdom Tooth’ is far more pleasurable than the title would suggest. Intricately put together, its delicate harmonies are aided by thunderous drums before it veers into a danceable prog direction. The penultimate ‘The Mighty Atom’ exudes the same kind of warmth and joy in playing music that you see in any of Paul’s live performances while ‘Trouble’ ends the record in a more reflective tone with choral tones and swaying melodies.
Exuberant and uplifting, ‘Power Pose’ packs a hell of a punch. Stick it on as the soundtrack to your Christmas lunch.