Live Review: The Human Circuit at The Sidewinder in Austin, TX

Material: The Human Circuit is a five-piece, post-psychedelic pop/rock band that fuses together intense passion and creativity, as well as numerous clashing instrumentals, into their own special brand of organized chaos. From the captivating, narrative songwriting to the incorporation of jazz-influenced brass and alluring synthesizers, the band sends listeners on a surreal adventure carried by harmonious vocal performances and electronic backdrop production. The throwback, theatrical approach to the band’s distinctive sound is best summed up by tracks such as “No Warranty,” a brass- heavy, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink moment that garner deserved attention. But just when you think their over-the-top work is too much, tracks such as the endearing “Into You” prove the band has mainstream potential as well.

Musicianship: Immediate comparisons to the alternative rock styling of Modest Mouse could be made with The Human Circuit, mainly due to the quirky vocal delivery of Oldgies and the instrumental progression and breaks during the set. All instrumental components shine for different reasons, Manns on drums is fiercely dominant and Mickey handles the bass to utmost perfection, but it is Oldgies on the keyboard who captivates the crowd and Whitney on the trumpet who adds an exciting extra layer. The most important aspect of the band’s quick rising star within the Austin music scene is the overpowering sense of eccentric, uncontrollable personality that makes its way through with every note and word.

Performance: During Free Week in Austin, The Human Circuit gave a spirited and dynamic performance that highlighted the band’s original concept of interchangeable components, a talent that allows every show to sound different from the last, yet still somehow consistent. As the band took the stage, Arani was noticeably absent. The harmoniously layered male/female vocals are a shining moment on the band’s recorded material, but even without, the boys’ frenzied stage presence made up for the unfortunate loss. The initially small crowd continued to grow, to a tightly packed state, as more became encompassed by the band’s vibrant charisma and contagious musical unity, which reached brilliant heights on a command- ing instrumental interlude.

Summary: For first timers, The Human Circuit represents something fresh and persuasive, with upbeat energy and soul, inspiring lyric content that occasionally borders on the grim and gloomy, and controlled vocal performances. However, after an eight-track set,

the band may have been overpowered by the chaos that makes them unique, as well as songs that tend to sound too much alike. Hints of inspirations from other genres are hopeful indications of a new direction. From commend- able jazz bar vibe to cabaret influences of the theater, from emo/punk styling of every early ‘00s rock band to added techno elements, the band needs to focus on models of inventiveness and perfect them.

The Players: Mat Oldiges, keyboardist, producer, vocalist; Amy Arani, backup vocalist; Chris Mickey, bassist; Adam Whitney, brass; Andy Manns, drums.

Venue: The Sidewinder
City: Austin, TX
Contact: thehumancircuit@gmail.com
Web: thehumancircuit.net

Song playing: "No Warranty"