The Dog Faced Hermans

Humans Fly

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An extraordinary group from the '80s underground punk scene, Dog Faced Hermans' work parallels their Dutch counterparts, the Ex, and they draw their sound from a great degree of ingenuity, taking their inspiration from Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band, Au Pairs, and the Slits. Their sound is explosive, funky, and accomplished -- at moments as delicate and improvisational as Sonic Youth, at others as hard as Gang of Four or the Pop Group. Melodies can sound almost folky in parts and, in fact, this album features an extraordinary rendering of "John Henry" wedged between two of their standouts: "Binding System" and "Beautiful." Fans of the proto-punk sound of groups such Crass, the Ex, and Kletka Red -- who expand the punk rock pallet to incorporate the approaches of free improvisation, avant rock, folk, and even psychedelia -- should check out this exceptionally innovative group. Needless to say, Humans Fly is a great album, though the uninitiated are advised to check out the outstanding Those Deep Buds, which appeared in the '90s on Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label.