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The Human Zoo - The Human Zoo (1970) review

The Human Zoo "The Human Zoo" (Cicadelic Records, 1970/2010)

Hailing from Westminster, California, located in Southern California's Orange County, the Human Zoo included vocalists Jim Cunningham and Roy Young, guitarist John Luzadder, guitarist and keyboardist Larry Hanson, bassist Bob Dalrymple, and drummer Kim Vydaremy. Initially coined the Circus, the band didn't hang around the scene too long, leaving behind only one album that came out in 1970 on the Accent label. Pressed in scant quantities, the disc obviously received little attention and quickly slid into a wormhole, so this reissue is much appreciated.

Parked in a musical zone owing a nudge and a wink to Vanilla Fudge, Jimi Hendrix, and Iron Butterfly, the Human Zoo perused and embodied the acid rock sounds of the day with insight and intent. Bold and booming guitars interact with crunchy keyboards and potent drum fills, while the soul-informed vocals and harmonies occasionally echo those of the heavier side of Crazy Elephant or Pacific, Gas, and Electric. "Funny," which concludes to a fiery jam, is perhaps the most imaginative and intense track on the album, followed closely by "The Human Zoo," that squeals and shimmers to a hypnotically repetitious rhythm. "It's Got To Be" and "Help Me" contain enough memorable melodies to keep things lively. A lonely and brooding psychedelic ambience blankets "I Don't Care No More," and "Gonna Take Me For A Ride" is strewn with stabbing jazzy horns. Basic hard rock structures costume "Late For My Resurrection" and "Stone Sassy Fox," and a sense of humor is clearly applied on the corny hillbilly twang of "When Papa Started Drinking." By no means revolutionary, "The Human Zoo" is still a fine and fascinating collection of songs. Good ideas and stirring chops made the band a cut above average, and it would have been interesting to hear what their next move would have been.

Review made by Beverly Paterson/2014
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