Not to be confused with other acts of the same name, the Humans whose second album is Sugar Rush are veteran avant-garde rock singer Toyah Willcox and bassists Bill Rieflin and Chris Wong, a trio formed in 2007 to fulfill an invitation Willcox received to tour Estonia. The singer-plus-two-bass-guitars lineup may be unusual, but it is no more unusual than some of Willcox's other projects, and in practice, the music is augmented in the studio with other instruments, notably the guitar of guest (and longtime Willcox associate) Robert Fripp of King Crimson, who appears on every track of Sugar Rush. Still, drums and drum programming are relatively minimal in music that nevertheless has a strong rhythmic impetus. It also has a strong flavor of the synthesized pop of the late '70s and early ‘80s as heard from such groups as Eurythmics and Yaz, though Willcox is less angry a singer than Annie Lennox and less passionate than Alison Moyet. She has an ethereal, disembodied quality, even when the music is at its most aggressive, such as on "This Reasoning." The effect can even be mildly humorous, as on "Sweet Agitation," which has something of a '50s rock & roll/doo wop feel. All of this makes the group name "the Humans" somewhat ironic. But it will appeal to fans of later King Crimson and some of the artier efforts of new wave rock.
Sugar Rush Review
by William Ruhlmann