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Harem Scarem Human Nature Vespa Music
Produced By: Harry Hess & Pete Lesperance

Running Time: 45.27

Release Date: January 12

Released:

Musical Style: Melodic Rock

Links: Harem Scarem
96%
Songs: 95%
Sound: 97%
You can say what you like about any perceived bias towards Harem Scarem over the last few years in my reviews, but take a look at their creative output over the years especially in the last 4 years since they took up the Scarem quest again they are simply untouchable!
The band has appealed to just about all melodic rock lovers over the years, so with each release there is a wide discussion about styles, sounds and individual preferences for different records throughout the Canadian bands career.
Everyone has their favourites, and I continue to be blown away by their consistency. You can guarantee that every album will feature at least several new classic melodic rock songs and a few fresh twists too.
This band keeps it interesting and for me, they deliver everything a melodic rock fan could want in a new record soaring vocals, big choruses and a huge production every time.
Preferences for direction and style aside, you cannot argue that each and every Harem Scarem record is the pinnacle of melodic rock quality.
The band's last few albums have been extraordinary and I'd stack those albums up against any other artist for consistency.
I feel of lot of what I have just written is for the purpose of justifying my enthusiastic endorsement of their music but the fans don't need any convincing so onto the contents of Human Nature.
Harem Scarem have in the past received a few less than stellar reviews from me (the first Rubber album for instance was a little hit or miss, as was Big Bang Theory), but this is another total class release as far as I see it.
I said the same of Overload, but to my surprise, the majority seemed to disagree on that one! I guess many did not appreciate the band's move into darker, less commercial realms, but as a fan of the much underrated Voice Of Reason album, I saw Overload as a natural mix of the past and the band's more recent work. And I have always dug Harem's underlying dark vibe.
My views aside, the voice of the fans reached the band. Human Nature is therefore classic Harem Scarem in every sense.
This is a far more melodic release and sees the band pump out some huge AOR harmonies, while mixing the production style and direction of recent work such as Weight Of The World and Higher.
A band that has been recording this long is not likely to copy any one style, instead finding their music evolving into a mix of everything from their past. Human Nature is just that its part Harem Scarem, part Weight Of The World, part Higher, part Mood Swings and even part Rubber, but always melodic and filled with hooks.
Track By Track:
Album number 11 opens with that familiar guitar sound we've come to love and we are away. Human Nature isn't in the band's usual style of opening with a punchy rocker. This is a mellower starter that builds to a glorious classic harmony filled Harem Scarem chorus.
Making the point that this album is less on the hard rock and more on the melody, the title track does the job perfectly and becomes yet another instant Harem classic.
Next Time Around is a little more urgent and rolls along at a nice pace. Once again, it is a perfect example of a great pop song and does what these guys do best gets to the point quickly. A mellower verse again gets rocking come chorus time - one I might add has a definite Mood Swings and Higher feel to it.
The rock ballad Caught Up In Your World features another warm and inviting vocal from Harry, introduced by a hard edge riff, which returns for the chorus. This is an emotional track that features some fine guitar work from Pete.
Reality is a straight forward mid-tempo melodic rocker in classic Harem style, with another great riff and melodies flying everywhere. The chorus reminds me of the very melodic run of tracks on second half of the Higher album.
Hanging On is an absolute monster ballad. This track rivals the best ballads the band has recorded in their illustrious past and overflows with passion and emotion. I love it and rate it as one of the best ballads of recent times. Comparing the band's recent ballads, this is better than All You're Getting (from Overload) and Higher (from Higher) and is up there with This Ain't Over (from Weight Of The World) for class.
The bridge and harmony vocals just add to the power of the song, which features a very demanding lead vocal.
Don't Throw It Away returns the album to a slightly rockier path, but still bathed in melodies. A punchy riff is accompanied by a swathe of harmony vocals and the chorus is another big and classic melodic Scarem anthem.
Just as every Harem album in recent times features some injection of more modern influences, so to is there a track borrowing from Queen. The moody and mellow rocker Give Love / Get Love is such a track. It's familiar, yet a little different at the same time and the punchy chorus is a clear tribute to the vocal styling of Queen.
From there we delve into this album's modern rocker 21. This moody and harder hitting track is reminiscent of the style and mood created on Overload. It isn't as melodic as much of the rest of the album, but has its place and as already stated, I do like the darker side of the band.
Starlight is typical of the band and won't be of any surprise to long time fans. It is of course, another solid track and acts as the required light and breezy melodic rocker with the catchy chorus, designed to punctuate the more left of center tracks around it.
Going Under is a great catchy commercial modern melodic rocker and although it compares with the band's second Rubber album (Ultra Feel), it is so instantly catchy, I can't imagine any Harem fan not digging this.
Tomorrow May Be Gone closes out the European release in perfect and absolute magic form. This uptempo melodic rock anthem mixes up those Mood Swings influences with something like Killing Me from Weight Of The World and Lost from Higher.
One of the best tracks from the new album and a smashing way to finish any record.
The Bottom Line
Was there ever any doubt? Harem Scarem have done it again. But for those wary of the band's intentions and musical direction, be rest assured that this is a very melodic record and should rate up there with the bands best records.
There are always calls for the guys to repeat their classic Moon Swings album, but they haven't yet and without that line-up back in place, they are unlikely to either.
Rather this line-up has delivered the best possible fan pleasing album they can and I believe that has been achieved. Not quite a perfect record and perhaps nothing we haven't already heard from the guys, but hell, they just do this stuff so well.
PS. I just got through listening to Overload again man, I still love that record!
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Harem Scarem
Mood Swings
Voice Of Reason
Believe / Karma Cleansing
Big Bang Theory
Rubber - Rubber
Rubber - Ultra Feel
Weight Of The World
Higher
Overload
Human Nature

Line Up:
Harry Hess: Vocals, Keyboards, Guitars
Pete Lesperance: Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Creighton Doane: Drums
Barry Donaghy: Bass
Darren Smith: Background Vocals

Essential For Fans Of:
Harem Scarem
Track Listing
Human Nature *
Next Time Around
Caught Up In Your World *
Reality *
Hanging On *
Don't Throw It Away *
Give Love Get Love
21
Starlight
Going Under *
Tomorrow May Be Gone *

--*Best Tracks


23/02/10: Brad - bdame33@comcast.net
Rating: 95
As Andrew said in his review, this is classic Harem Scarem. They combine elements from their entire career in this stellar release. The opening title track makes me thing very much of their first album output with its classic melodic sound. By the last track, "Tomorrow May Be Gone", you get a dark vibe and message with some of that "Weight of the World" modern rock sound. Another brilliant album by an all-time criminally underrated band.

19/04/07: Creo - ccorvinell@aol.com
Rating: 79
Simply put, Id have to agree this is no mood swings. Not sure If they tried to accomplish that same sound here but it didnt happen. Id have to disagree with andrew as far as the continued "Freshness" factor of the cd's, I find some have been sounding very much alike other songs they have done. I personally likes overload but I think Weight of the world was the closest song we are going to see these guys do to mood swings. Lyrically this album is also much simplier then most of harrys previous writings, heck most of his words were so complicated yet he used them in such a smoothly blended story. I still think Harry is one of the greatest song writers, I just have to question if this is an intention change or not.

20/03/07: Theo - rapture344@planet.nl
Rating: 80
I don't get it that so many cds get a score of 90 or more. That means they have to be nearly perfect. But in my collection I don't have that much cds I would rate that high. There's almost always a few things (songs) that aren't up to the high standard of the other tracks.
The same goes for this release. Surely it's a collection of great songs, but too often I get the feeling I've heard this before (and executed better).

14/03/07: John - jdehrich@hotmail.com
Rating: 100
Why 100? Simply because I enjoy every song on the album. Now you might say that I am merely an uncritical absolute fan of Harem Scarem. The reality is that I never bought an album of theirs because I thought the name of the band was somewhat silly. This is why I have never bought a Trixter album either. I finally gave them a chance with this album because of Andrew's raving about them. I really have to agree with his assessment of this band, as I now own just about everything of theirs. They are a very consistent band, even though they have changed their style quite frequently. One could easily say that they have changed their sound to suit the evolving styles of the music industry which makes them less than original. There is something to be said for this, but the reality is that, whether they are recording Hair Metal, Alternative, Power Pop or their most recent material, they always do it very well. In fact, I assert that their last 3 albums show the band actually doing what they want to do, as opposed to following trends in music and trying to score a hit by changing their style. I believe Human Nature exemplifies this more that their previous three albums. Why? Because there is no way this album is going to score a hit. Music companies won't touch it and promote it, which leaves them with a very small audience.

As for the album itself, I believe that it shows the quality of this band's ability to self-produce and album. Owning your own studio helps, but there is a good deal of poor recordings that are independently released which we all listen to. Not so with this album. Thanks to Harry and Pete for having the artistic integrity of producing a high quality album with songs that are both immediate and have a good shelf life.

Also, thanks to Andrew.

23/02/07: Splash777 - Splash777@msn.com
Rating: 80
More and more I have grown to love Harem Scarem. This album is another solid release. The band seems to have found their comfort zone a bit on this album though. Not saying its bad because its not bad at all. Just sounds a little too formulaic for such a talented band.
This album does come after everyone's solo albums and side projects so maybe the material is showing that all the output took a little toll on the creative prowress."Give Love-Get Love" with it's Queen styled background vocals is high point for sure. One of the bands best songs for sure.
Pete's guitar playing is as usual stellar. The guy is better than just about every player in the current modern rock world. The production values of the album are top quality as we've come to expect from a band this good. If you only listen to "Reality" from this album it would be worth the purchase price. The song is almost one of those perfect songs. Harem Scarem have a knack for creating songs of such quality. This album has few if any low moments. It's another successful album in a career that should have made this band a household name in Canada. But instead the worst band in the history of the country ended up getting all the kudos...Tragically Crappy deal for Harry, Pete & company.

19/02/07: panos - panline9@yahoo.gr
Rating: 90
It's very melodic and i like it a lot!

06/01/07: Steve - farrarsm@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
This is a very typical Harem Scarem record - great tunes with outstanding performances by all involved, especially Pete Lesperance's guitar playing. I do have to admit that this hasn't caught my attention to the same extent that "Overload" did (hence the less than perfect rating), but dang, it's still pretty good!

04/01/07: Anders - andershogberg8@hotmail.com
Rating: 80
I think this is the best band in the world and I'm one of their biggest fans. But to me this record is a little disappointment. I've tried really hard to love it but this time they failed to really nail it. I still like the album and it's one of the best this year but it's not a classis HS album.

Human nature, Caught up in your world, Hanging on, Don't throw it away and Tomorrow may be gone would've made it on any HS album and Reality, 21 and Starlight are very decent songs by any standard. Give love/get love, Going under and Next time around should've been left out. Next time around is a song that I've tried hard to like. The verse is fantastic and gives you hope of a new classic song. But then the chorus....I don't get it and it runs on and on and on...Same for most of the songs, too many choruses I think.

And finally the sound. I would've hoped for a cleaner sound ( Mood swings ) although I like the heavy approach here.

Tough words I know but my expectations for this band are enormous and I still think it's a very good record.

04/01/07: scott - scooterd00@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 99
Harem Scarem and Gotthard are the two bands when I hear that they are releasing a new cd I get excited because theese two band can do no wrong. And Harem Scarem continues that trend for me. This is an awesome cd the only reason I don't give it a 100 is because of the song 21 though I do like it it isn't one of my favorite Harem songs.Anyone who doesn't like this cd doesn't have an ear for great melodic rock or they are just tone deaf.Hary and Pete are the masters of catchy hooks and melodies.

03/01/07: Mick - Mickdoo22@juno.com
Rating: 0
Now THAT was a review by someone who obviously has an agenda! Are you sure you are listening to the same record?

03/01/07: Zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 78
I must start to say that Harems Scarem is little overrated I think. I have never understand the high ratings of this group. This record is better than the last one, but not a top record of 2006. Higher is still the best record since the glory days of Harem Scarem.

30/12/06: Paul - paul@pagrebo.com
Rating: 77
Time for a little bit of objectivity here. Seems like everyone is just a blind fan of Harem Scarem. They could record nursery rhymes and everyone on this site would praise it like the greatest cd ever. With that said, Harem Scarem is probably the most consistently solid group out there right now. But come on, they're not perfect. I love HS, too, but let's take a realistic look at Human Nature:
HUMAN NATURE- Not a typical opener, and maybe that's a good thing. A sort of kinder gentler grunge with pop sensibilities. I could see this as a single.
NEXT TIME AROUND- A hybrid pop/rocker that doesn't really strike a hit with either crowd.
CAUGHT UP IN YOUR WORLD- Starts out sounding like a Def Leppard ballad, then cranks up... and this is where it loses its cohesiveness.
REALITY- Pretty generic stuff here.
HANGING ON- A very nice power ballad, something I've never thought of as a strong suit for HS. Pleasantly surprised here.
DON'T THROW IT AWAY- A stand out track... one of the best songs of 2006.
GIVE LOVE/GET LOVE- Queen is dead... let it rest. A very good start to a cd starts to unravel right here.
21- Filler... don't know what else to say.
STARLIGHT- This is one of those "safe" melodic rockers that would've been released as a single back in the day... and would've been generally ignored.
GOING UNDER- Bouncy, infectious chorus... but the rest of the song is a mess.
TOMORROW MAY BE GONE- Good song, although I think a more defined guitar sound would've improved it remarkably instead of the alt rock jamming that is used.

So all in all, Harem Scarem's Human Nature is better than 98% of what's out there these days. Is it their best? Hell no, not even close. Look this is a good cd, but it's not perfect, it's not a classic, it's not even a must buy... unless you're a Scarem fanatic that feels they can do no wrong(*coughAndrewcough*!).

17/12/06: Rose - wardah_aurora@yahoo.com
Rating: 99
Currently this is one of my latest favourite albums of the year. Absolutely worth buying; no doubt 'bout it! Well what more can I say - this is absolutely an amazing mind-blowing melodic rock album!!!

These guys are simply genius! The whole tracks are simply outstanding! Excellent production, outstanding & impressive vocals & of course totally beautiful mesmerising guitar riffs/motifs. Besides that, these guys did excellent job on the whole sounds mixing & the arrangement of overall sounds is nearly a masterpiece! So well done Harem Scarem. You guys still rock my world! ;-)

Cheerio,
Rose

14/12/06: David - ayotte2506@yahoo.ca
Rating: 95
Another brilliant piece of work from Oshawa, Ontario's HAREM SCAREM. I wish Canadian radio would support these guys like this website and other melodic rock websites do. They deserve all the glory. Keep it up boys!

13/12/06: Michael - mtsalidis@hotmail.com
Rating: 96
Harem Scarem delivers again! There is no stopping these guys. Another release full of great songs with outstanding vocals. The riffs are there and the solos are cool. Production is top notch. What more can you say about these guys. They know how to write great songs with memorable hooks. No filler at all. A great addition to your Harem Scarem catalogue and certainly one of the highlights of the year.

12/12/06: Jeff - jazzy1ne@sbcglobal.net
Rating: 98
I love this CD.....I wait very impatiently for releases by two bands every year....this one and Def Leppard. Every release from them is top notch and this is no exception!

10/12/06: music-nut - andrew@ecov.org
Rating: 95
Superb new album from Harem Scarem! This is easily their most complete and consistent album since VOR. Production is top-notch, and I think Pete's guitar work is phenomenal (which is nothing new, but deserves a special mention on this disc). I see this as a very welcome return to form for the boys.

Why not 100%? I think it's because even though there are some superb moments on here, there is nothing that is a groundbreaking classic. Simply Scarem at the top of their game, full-throated harmonies, great guitar riffs, awesome production. I'll take that any day of the week!

Favorite songs:
--Human Nature
--Next Time Around
--Caught Up in Your World
--Starlight
--Going Under


10/12/06: Mick - Mickd0022@juno.com
Rating: 96
Simply put, in my opinion this is the best melodic rock record in the last 5 plus years. The writing is superb, as is the production and the performances throughout. This album manages to incoporate all the best elements from most of their previous albums and builds upon them without revisiting the same ground. This album will not divide HS nation as Overload did because the songs are so strong. If you drop the Rubber era "Going Under" this would be the perfect album. (There is something very effiminate sounding about their Rubber style material I just can't dig.) But fortunately this album is much more in keeping with the classic Mood Swings, Voice of Reason, and Believe style. This is EASILY their best post Rubber album yet. It's obvious these guys were out to make a statement this time around, and the results are stellar.

09/12/06: restless one - rocksteadyaor.com
Rating: 100
SUPERB Album !!! Although i liked the OVERLOAD cd., HUMAN NATURE is so much better than HIGHER OR OVERLOAD 96%??????. Great sound,smooth vocals & a more consistant album overall...I think the boys might even score a hit in Canada with this gem.100%

09/12/06: frytz - fritz@dreamothergirl.com
Rating: 100
I just love this album like I did "higher" - amazing songs and amazing sound!!! This band deserves to be so huge!!!
YEEEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!

09/12/06: FooD - food@it.it
Rating: 90
Song By Song review from me :

. Human Nature * ..for me they started the album on the wrong foot because this song is a filler for me, i felt nothing listening to it. not the best start / not the best song.

Next Time Around *... now this is what the band should sound like, this song is great and my 1st pick from the album.

Caught Up In Your World * ... a good song with superb arrangement and great vocals. love it

Reality * ...this song rocks! it's my 2nd Pick of the album

Hanging On *...another good song but lacks something, still better than Human Nature.

*** Don't Throw It Away ***... ladies & gentlemen.....CLASSIC song!!!
this is my favorite song of the album and my pick for song of the year. THE BEST!!!!!!!

Give Love Get Love *....pffff....Queen is gone, Harem Scarem doing this song was a mistake, sure it sound Queen but i don't like it. sorry

21 * ..i still didn't make up my mind on this one, i don't think i'll listen to it too long though, kinda "noisy"

Starlight *....my 4th pick of the album, an excellent emotional song, i love it!

Going Under * ... an OK song but lacks something, enjoyable.

Tomorrow May Be Gone * ...5th pick of the album and it's a beauty to close the album with this song.

FINAL SCORE = 90%

Pro = Excellent production quality, great songs, great vocals and harmonies

Con = PETE LESPERANCE should start to create variations in the way his solo guitar sound, most of the solo lack variety, he is an excellent guitarist and what he offers here is a poor showcase of his abilities.

this album is a must buy!

thank you for reading.

if you would like another excellent band, go buy MAIN ATTRACTION or NEWMAN....beats this album with a stick. :)

08/12/06: Jason - jasonwilliams@talktalk.net
Rating: 100
As usual...First Class!! For me this band can do no wrong. They cosistantly produce one high quality album after another. It seems criminal that music like this can not reach a wider audience and we should be thankfull that they continue to make music at all.

Album of 2006!!

08/12/06: Wink On - winkit7777@aol.com
Rating: 99
This is near perfect, wow, what a release. The only reason its not a 100% is that I am jelous that its that good. How can a band this great not be huge makes no sense at all. I am from Rockford, Illinois, home of Cheap Trick. This and the Rockford release are my top two picks for 2006.

08/12/06: Marc - 4horsemen@home.nl
Rating: 100
Andrew!!!! Why only 96 points?? This one is much better than the Overload and Higher album. All tracks are sublime.
Definitely ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2006.

08/12/06: donnie leeman - d.Leeman@hotmail.com
Rating: 7
This is a nice album, but i don't think it's better then HIGHER of WEIGHT OF THE WORLD.
The songs are not of the same caliber as the albums just mentioned.
A lot of the songs have the same pace and it's very difficult to say wich ones are my favorites because they all sound alike.

The production is good, but i liked the production mood on HIGHER a lot more.

Greetzzz

08/12/06: Robert - rstupay@hotmail.com
Rating: 98
Determined to win back some rather fickle fans, HS decided to go into the studio in 2006 and record a straight-forward melodic rock record. No frills, no gimmicks. This album is just packed with good songs and great production.

Human Nature and Next Time Around gets things off to a nice Mood Swings-y start and Hanging On may be the best ballad the band has recorded in years. However, it's with the little surprises that HS have shown their real muscle.

Give Love/Get Love is the best song Queen never recorded and 21 is a dark, modern rocker with heavy VOR-style lyrics. The last three tracks on the album show what HS are really all about. Fun, fast, and melodic to a fault, Starlight, Going Under and then the scorching Tomorrow May Be Gone round out another winning set. All three songs would not be out of place on any of the band's first two classic discs.

Better songs and more consistent than both Higher and Overload, Human Nature is easily the best melodic rock album of 2006.

07/12/06: Red - t_limey@hotmail.com
Rating: 98
This is the hands-down the best Harem Scarem album post-Rubber....in fact i'd put it up there with Voice of Reason and Mood Swings. As much as i love WOTW, Higher & Overload, all 3 albums suffer from having rather weak second halves imo. Human Nature is a much more consistent record that starts strong and ends strong, only sagging ever-so-briefly around the middle ("Reality" & "Don't Throw It Away"). The production, songwriting and execution are all first rate, Harry's voice sounds as strong as ever and Pete Lesperance really shines with some sublime guitar work. They have also been a bit more adventurous with the arrangements this time around and the longer running time gives the album a more epic feel overall.

Personal favourites are: "Give Love/Get Love", "Caught Up In Your World", "21", "Human Nature", "Next Time Around" & "Going Under".

This might not win over the minority of naysayers (Patiently awaits "Freddy De Keyzer's" annual '0' rating) but i imagine the majority of Scarem fans will lap this up.

For me this is quite easily the best album of 2006.

07/12/06: Jonas - jonas151@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
A high quality release as usual.


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