Human Waste Project - E-Lux review

Ok, here's the Kerrang! review of E-Lux, from the issue dated 21 Feb 1998.

Human Waste Project



Love them or hate them, you can't deny that Ginger, Posh, Scary, Sporty and Baby have done more to put the feminist agenda at the forefront of public consciousness than Germaine Greer or any of her lubricated peers. 'Girl Power' is here to stay, and thankfully rock music, traditionally rock music, traditionally sexism's best-guarded bastion, is for once up to speed.

Only 10 years ago, every record company had its own bunch of Barbie Dolls peddling soft metal balladry and soft porn imagery. The message was clear: the only place for 'chicks' in rock was on their knees, draining as many love pumps as possible.

These days, thanks to grunge's enlightened views on gender politics and cool icons like Courtney Love and Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, all this has changed. In 1998, we have women like Tarrie B and Coal Chamber's Rayna - strong, opinionated female musicians who're making waves on their terms. And Human Waste Project's Aimee Echo is set to be 1998's coolest female newcomer.

Ms Echo is HWPs gutsy voice and thumping heart. Within 60 seconds of opening her mouth on 'Disease', she's wailing 'I'm just a girl, without apology', followed swiftly by the advice 'so fuck off'. You instantly know that she's not to be trifled with.

For many of the Project's songs, Echo muses upon broken, bitter and hateful relationships, picking at loves bleeding, bruised heart and emerging older, wiser, hopeful and defiant. Vocally and lyrically, she resembles her hero, PJ Harvey: both women dissect relationships, male-female mind games and gender divisions with intelligence and no small amount of venom.

HWP songs are divided into four categories - the short, sour rockers ('Hold me Down', 'Powerstrip'), the shimmering atmospheric ballads ('Electra', 'Interlude'), the Deftonesesque builders ('Exit Wound', 'Shine') and the pure pop songs cunningly disguised with distorted, insistent riffs ('Slide'). They're more eclectic than most of their LA peers, for which much credit must be given to Mike Tempesta's varied guitar playing, which encompasses everything from brittle scratching to swaggering grooves.

First single 'Powerstrip' is an obvious highlight, Echo screeching 'you think you're so fucking right', as her graphic accounts of violence are torn apart by chunky repetetive riffing. 'Hold Me Down' is simple and effective, its S&M overtones accentuated by Jeff Schartoff's dirty bass groove. 'Exit Wound' is the flipside of this confident crunch - Echo sounds vulnerable as she trawls through a doomed love affair with the admission 'I would have given it all to you'. No one ever said it was going to be easy.

HWP's effectiveness lies in their ability to deftly switch styles, tempos and moods, and this coupled with Echo's charisma makes them one of the hottest prospects around, as well as another fine addition to LA's new metal breed. 1998 might just be their year.

Paul Brannigan

Fact File

Formed: 1993, in Huntingdon Beach, California.

Previous LP's: 'E-Lux' is HWP's debut.

Biggest hit: Give them time ....

Current Line Up: Aimee Echo (vocals), Mike Tempesta (guitar), Jeff Schartoff (bass), Scott Ellis (drums)

Studio Vibe: Chilled out, but focussed, with Ms Echo undoubtedly calling the shots.

Cover artwork for the LP: A typical American family, complete with dog, gazing towards the night sky.

Subject matter for LP: The emotional rollercoaster brought about by relationships.

Next move: Given the ecstatic reception the 'Project received while supporting both Tura Satana and Coal Chamber at the tail end of '97, we can expect to see Echo and the boys returning to play headline dates in the UK by Spring.