HGR CD Review: We Came From Space

WE CAME FROM SPACE – HOW TO BE HUMAN (no label) We Came From Space arrived on Earth last year, channeling the talents of four seasoned veterans of the west-central PA music scene: Ten Till Destiny/ApologetiX guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Bill Hubauer, former Ask A Stranger guitarist Dave Buzard, bassist Mike Kurtz and drummer Bret Talbert. We Came From Space bears a gift to mankind, their 12-song debut album, How to Be Human. The group brews up a varied stew of sounds through the album’s course; the primary flavor is melodic, progressive-minded ‘70s and ‘80s-era rock of the Yes, Kansas and Styx variety, but elements of worldbeat, jazz, techno, punk, dark modern rock and other ingredients mix in as well. Each song is distinctive, with the group’s thread of inventive, rocking musicianship tying the set into a unified whole. Using clever wordplays and touches of sarcastic humor, the group’s song themes largely involve surviving and coping with humanity and the modern world. Setting a hopeful and futuristic tone in the opening seconds, “Solar Powered Sun” uses a jumpy ‘80s new wave vibe to kickstart the album with a message of unity for mankind. Riding a futuristic techno-rock arrangement, the title song “How to Be Human” establishes its infectious groove quickly, before professing a lyrical blueprint for living life. Credit advice is somewhat offered on the harder-rocking “Cat Caught Rat,” and with its hints of Steely Dan jazz-rock fusion, “The Grand Pantaloon” gives hope to the societal buffoon. “Here on the Outside” channels worldbeat flourishes, the post-split taunt “Wish This on You” evolves into a jam-laden homestretch, and the abrupt “The Pledge” dabbles in Iggy Stooge-toned punk rock. “Reality Dissolved” merges dark modern rock tones with a Middle-Eastern vibe, and the introspective “Waterline (Change Within)” sounds like a missing Tommy Shaw outtake from Styx’s Equinox/The Grand Illusion period. We Came From Space’s melodies are catchy and clever, and often detailed and elaborate. The vocals are clean and on target, and the group’s chorus harmonies often recall classic Styx and early ‘80s-era Yes. Their musicianship is dazzling; the arrangements are colorful and varied, and each band member’s contributions comfortably fit, serve and supplement the melodies. The mix is clean, tight, and given enough polish to sound smooth without dulling the group’s adventurous edge. How to Be Human offers a stellar set of intelligent, innovative songcraft; We Came From Space’s first sonic alien invasion is a welcome treat for human ears everywhere. (The album can be obtained through iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/how-to-be-human/id762523990.)

Here is a video for the title song "How to Be Human":