Fire Note Says: Jesse Remnant dons Human Cannonball moniker again, returns with members of Shrug, and crafts folkie, pop fun on Let‘s Be Friends.
Album Review: Here is an album that was two and a half years in the making (mostly due to Remnant playing bass and supplying his vocal talents to the equally creative and talented Southeast Engine) and now finds Jessie picking back up his solo endeavors as Human Cannonball while adding a band to the proceedings for their first full-length Let’s Be Friends. Human Cannonball is comprised of Remnant but what makes it equally special is that he has help from some friends. Ohio’s own respected indie rockers Shrug, with members old and new including Eric Cassidy (Guitar), Ken Hall (Keyboards), Bryan Lakatos (Bass), and Dan Stahl (Drums). What results is a punchy, barnstormer of an album that in its 16 track span presents, precisely packaged guitar crooners, honky-tonk stompers, and a fun, folkie pop mentality that comes through over the duration of the record.
Record opener, “Friend 1 & 2” invites the listener to befriend the musical journey, and even if it doesn’t work out he’s still ok with that too. Lazy day in the shade vocals with a small smatter of harmony give way to a friendly walking bass line and a jaunty, jug band vibe. “Made of Gold”, one of my favorite tracks, brings hook handiwork that I haven’t heard in quite some time. With a childlike guitar bounce, it has an attitude that sounds as if it could be placed upon the most playful of Wes Anderson’s soundtracks. But, breaking that up is a fantastic piano pounding, drum galloping, country fried guitar hook that delights the ears. Still in its short span the track has more to give as a honky-romp breakdown recalls some of the greatest honky-tonk tones produced by The Beatles.
The track “Chains” projects warmth from any angle that you listen, warm organ, warm vocals and harmonies, and a guitar structure that brings the full heat. With all that layered together it brings me to feel something that Fleetwood Mac could have created, it also helps that the track is entitled “Chains”. “Milk and Honey” easily reflects Remnant’s talent and musical skill and all in under a minute too. It is a simple mid tempo story told with only vocal and guitar. Almost coming out of nowhere is “Ghost Yard” that hits with a Guided By Voices brand of song length and lo-fi attack, a great surprise and it re ups the energy as the record enters the home stretch. Picking up where “Ghost Yard” leaves off comes the straight forward guitar jams of “Classic Freak”. For the last parts of the album it begins to coast to a beautiful, gorgeous stop. “Annalucia” is a heartfelt call out to what could become a lost love, the playing and vocals are enough to bring on goose bumps and cold chills. Beginning as it started, the guys bring back the hazy, lazy day in the shade vocals for final track “Arrows” a track that prepares for the inevitable arrows to start coming down.
Human Cannonball presents a record that flies through the air with the greatest of ease – yes that is the high flying man on the trapeze, but of course cannonballs also fly. There is nothing here that changes the game, but what is created has continuity, emotion, talent, and fun. For this one I’m going to have to urge you to load up the cannon and give it a shot.
Key Track: “Made of Gold”, “Stop Crying”, “Annalucia”
Artists With Similar Fire: The Avett Brothers / The Magpies / Mudcrutch
Human Cannonball Website
Human Cannonball Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy