Ever wonder what the emo kid equivalent to Rush is? The debut album by progressive-minded post-hardcore act the Human Abstract is a pretty good approximation. Time will tell if Nocturne will age as poorly as the Canadian power trio's blend of flashy drum solos, irritating vocal tics and Ayn Rand-inspired lyrics has, but there's a very similar sense of self-importance to this album. Even in a style known for po-faced lyrical pretension, Nathan Ells' lyrics are an impressively bombastic and meaningless parade of half-formed allusions to mythology and classical literature mingled with doomy mopery. Vocally, the band is a bit more interesting, alternating a standard-issue sore-throat growl with clean vocals that shade into a theatrical, glammy delivery that occasionally ventures up into an unexpected Russell Mael falsetto. Similarly, the arrangements add blasts of showboating high-speed, high-register guitar twiddles and circus-tune synthesizers to fundamentally ordinary post-hardcore tunes, suggesting a more restless creative spirit than is usual for the style. Allowing their proggy tendencies fuller flower would potentially limit the band's audience among the Myspace demographic, but it would certainly make the Human Abstract a far more interesting band.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason