I Used to Be Sober All the Time by Humans on the Floor

By Ron Powers

I Used to Be Sober All the Time by Humans on the Floor

They say that smiling relieves stress, helps you live longer, and makes you more attractive. It’s also extremely contagious. So, how could I not tell you about Humans on the Floor: a brand-new band with some of the most smile-inducing music I’ve ever heard.

I discovered this unique and wonderfully odd group a couple weeks ago and found myself grinning ear to ear while listening to their debut EP, The First 1. If I had to sum this band up in a few words I’d say they sound like an exuberant species of space alien who discovered punk rock. Think the Ramones meets the B52s.

My favorite tune from Humans on the Floor is called “I Used to Be Sober All the Time”. This song is a triumphant cocktail of pulsing joy and driving rock-n-roll power. The song begins with a distorted guitar playing a single chord along with a pounding snare drum and handclaps. Two measures in, we hear jubilant group vocals singing a combination of “das” and “doos” with a melody that yoyos between two notes and feels like a roller-coaster zipping around in your head. Next, guitar rakes and bass notes are layered in giving a nice image of the full-bodied and powerful noise that Humans on the Floor make.

The first verse takes off like a hot rod car peeling out onto the highway. Singer Rob Bell’s vocal melody has a light and soothing feel to it and consists of seven notes sung with a symmetrical quarter note rhythm. This creates a pleasing minimalistic pattern with the straight eighth note rhythm of the guitar and bass. We also hear callback vocals throughout the verses which add an exciting dimension and color. The combination of male lead vocals and female backing vocals is yet another aspect of Humans on the Floor which gives them distinction.

When the chorus is introduced, we hear a satisfying volume boost as the top line shifts in rhythm. While the lead vocals paint a picture of coming to an existential breaking point, the background vocals offer a swooping melody and the playful lines: “He is going on a bender / it’s the only option to be true / He is going on a bender / going through a blender”. Bell’s lyrics paint a picture of a way of life that becomes unsustainable and unbearable. However, the story is told from a place of joy looking back at the predicament he was in. At the end of each chorus the defiant line, “I USE TO BE SOBER ALL THE TIME” seems to laugh in the face of taking life too seriously.

After a couple verses and choruses, Humans on the Floor switch things up with a stripped-down bridge. This section consists of full-bodied doubled vocals and harmonies which almost have a group-vocal power to them. Under the top line we hear a simple arrangement of handclaps and spunky background vocals. As the bridge progresses, a building drum pattern is introduced creating a ramping energy leading into the final chorus.

Humans on the floor is just getting going. They’ve released one five-song EP thus far and a second EP is on the way. If you’d like to learn more about this cool new band you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter. If you’d like to listen to the music, you can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and most all other places digital music is streamed or sold.

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