The Horse Flies

Human Fly

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Human Fly Review

by Michael Ofjord

Human Fly is an evocative record that turns traditional country inside out. Though it is very apparent that the group has listened and absorbed old-time country and bluegrass, the intent seems to be to win over a modern young audience that is open to the possibilities of adding modern electronic sounds to the mix. Electronic means not electric guitars, but instrumentation such as processed banjo-uke and emulator. "I Live Where It's Gray" is possibly the most unusual and eccentric song, and definitely the most hypnotic. Resembling a disco outtake with banjo-uke instrumentation, and complete with a whip-like sounding beat and existential lyrics, the repetitive nature of the music and the rather obscure lyrical content (e.g. "I've got legs as white as priests', I live where it's gray") draws in the listener. Also along similar lines with unusual lyrics but without the disco beat are "Human Fly" and "Who Throwed Lye On My Dog." The group remains closer to the roots of old old-time country with their interpretations of two traditional songs, "Jenny on the Railroad" and "Cornbread." The technical prowess of fiddle player Judy Hyman is particularly impressive and definitely worth noting. The only time the album falters somewhat is on the last number "Blueman's Daughter." The problem is that the song is too close to lifeless country-rock, something unexpected from a group that is so intent on experimentation. Mostly, though, the album evokes admiration for the band, for the risks they've taken to evolve a new sound and stake claim in new musical territory, while still respecting their roots.

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