Reviewed by Adam McGrath
The Humble stormed the Philadelphia music scene in 2013 with debut album Curse the Weather, grabbing attention in college basements and local bars with their infectious take on modern rock. Today sees the release of Act Accordingly, a follow-up EP that further establishes their melodic sound while taking a few steps forward in production value and songwriting technique.
Recorded at The Headroom Studio in Philadelphia with Joe Reinhart and Kyle Pulley, Act Accordingly is a concise album that presents itself with a quiet resolve. The trio of Jordan Caiola (guitar/vocals), Shane Woods (percussion) and Nate Matulis (bass) has honed a watertight sound over years of playing together.
The overall impression of the songs on this EP is one of yearning and searching, but with a specific goal firmly in mind. A 36-second intro finds Caiola’s voice echoing over a sustained high note, transitioning seamlessly into “No One Stops,” a portrait of small-town life where “no one stops for the red lights and nobody leaves.” This is the life the narrator is trying to escape, “starving for something worth sinking my teeth into.” We all can relate to that feeling of wanting to get out of a stale situation.
“Runaway” advances the idea to the next stage, the decision to leave made and a new life embraced, even if it doesn’t make sense to most. The rhythm section does some nice work here, alternating drum fills with looping bass lines. Sparse guitar licks weave in and out, allowing Caiola’s voice to carry and build throughout. The Humble have been playing this song live for a while now, and it’s one of their best.
“Right Time, Wrong Location” is a bit of a drop-off from the previous two tracks, never fully taking form even if it starts at a slightly higher tempo. It does continue to move the narrative forward, this time a sense of doubt replacing the earlier conviction that moving on was the right decision.
Luckily, “Part 2” erases any doubt that The Humble are ready to take the next step. Caiola’s voice is still their best weapon, but Woods drives the beat forward with a little shuffle thrown in, and Matulis is rock solid on the four-string. The narrator’s confidence is back, the path clearer even if “two out of three was the only way.”
Act Accordingly should tide fans over for a while, but thankfully new music from The Humble is on the horizon. Read our interview with the band from earlier this week to hear about their plans for the rest of the year.