Listen “Humanize” by Hecuba:
The night I discovered Hecuba was quite memorable. I was waiting patiently up front for the opening band for Bat For Lashes to begin. I had never heard of this mystery band, Hecuba, and didn’t know what the expect. The anticipation for Bat For Lashes was growing and the band was taking their sweet time to get the night a rollin’. Finally, a bearded dude (Jon Beasley) who slightly resembled an exhausted touring zombie and a tall, slender woman with an atrocious fashion mullet clad in a skin tight, leopard-snake skin onesy jump suit appear on stage.
They begin the set with a thriving samba meets avante-jazz bass line snaking through the speakers as the woman (Isabelle Albuquerque) chants out a story of how music has stolen her baby. Then another fellow enters the stage and begins to play a staccato infected trumpet line as the drum beats rise and thrive. Meanwhile, the singer stretches around the stage in odd leaps, her mullet flopping furiously, eyes crazed and locked above the audience.
Some people were taken aback by their disconnect from reality into the apex of performance art. That being said, Hecuba is an easy target to mock with their costumes and theatrics. Even though at times I found myself choking down an inward chuckle, I was was fascinated by the sheer creative audacity of the band and decided to buy their second record, Paradise, released by Manimal Vinyl on green wax, baby.
At home, the album is equally alluring, combining mild electro pulses recalling the crazy sexy cool of mid 90’s R&B matched with stripped down, melodramatic notation that is abrasive enough to remove nail polish. The result is a deconstructed pop record, sounding like a jam session between The Kills and Yoko Ono after the triad swallowed down some mysteriously colored pills.
The album’s lyrical content depicts the demise of relationships and is occasionally lightened with looney lovesick fantasies. The album opens with “Paradise”, a tune that starts off minimally as Jon Beasley sensuously invites the listener to his utopia with a whisper. In “Suffering” Jon Beasley describes how a domino effect of loneliness occurs when love falls apart, knocking everyone down in it’s desperate collapse of 1950’s-esque crooning.
Though a bit looney at times – Paradise is an excellent collection of pop reassembly straight out of the Acme art-school warehouse.