Released: 2007, Small Stone Records
It’s been four and a half years since we last heard from Puny Human. Back then they had just released their very good IT’S NOT THE HEAT, IT’S THE HUMANITY sophomore album. Life and line up problems served to derail the band for awhile, but thankfully they are back in full command with another heaping helping of heavy stoner metal.
From the cover art and booklet down to the song titles, it’s clear that Puny Human don’t take their image too seriously. Thankfully on the flip side of that coin, they are obviously deadly serious about their music. The thick fuzzy riffs are a flowin’ all over this album, but the band seems to have injected a shot of pure rock ‘n roll into their veins as, to my ears, this album is less stoner-inflected than previous efforts. I mean, in a fair world, it wouldn’t be a stretch to hear “The Bus Will Eventually Crash”, or “Can’t Clap With A Drink In Your Hand” on mainstream rock radio – that’s how catchy some of these songs are! Hell, they’ve even got a guest vocal from Canadian rocker Danko Jones on “The Real Johnny Charm”. Of course, the band hasn’t forgotten their roots as “Number of the Beauty” capably proves.
Some songs on the backend of the album (why’s it always the backend songs?) can’t keep up the energy level, but overall, UNIVERSAL FREAKOUT is about as solid a stoner metal album as you’re ever going to hear. The band is on fire throughout, especially vocalist Jim Starace, who turns in a remarkably strong performance. It’s obvious that they’re glad to be back making music after the time away. Welcome back boys – here’s hoping it’s not another three years until the next one!