Words & Header Image by Shirin Hodgson-Watt
Until now, I’ve mostly been aware of Little Clone Humans frontman Sam Howard (aka, one of the genuinely nicest guys on the Cornish music scene) through his folky Americana-shaded solo work, being a smidge behind the times as ever and therefore having missed his previous full band incarnations, and so when I heard about the formation of Little Clone Humans I rather lazily expected more of the same, just with more people. Well, that will teach me to be complacent, because what I wasn’t expecting was the sharp mule kick that I witnessed at Little Clone Humans’ pre-debut gig ‘test’ live appearance a few months back when they opened as a barely-kept secret for local sequin-encrusted legends Honey in Charlestown.
I don’t always feel I take in new bands as well as I might wish to when I only get to see them live, the combination of less than crystal sound, earplugs, and the fact that I’m generally absorbed in photographing the show means that I don’t get to concentrate on unfamiliar songs one hundred per cent. Watching the YouTube footage of the Little Clone Humans set from the Brewery in St Austell from April, where they opened for Godstone, reminded me of what had scooted past me on the night, and showed me just how strong a body of songs they’ve already created in such a short a time.
‘Hatchet’ is a vigorous pick as a first release, being both representative of the band’s sound overall, yet also being particularly memorable even on the first few listens, offering as it does both an ear worm of a hummable hook and an intimidating stab of chainsaw riffs. Stirring a cauldron of ‘90s grunge, seasoned with a more tautly focused metal core, waves of Nirvana combine with the dark harmonies of Alice in Chains, alongside emphatic rolling Queens of the Stone Age style grooves to create something that succeeds at being both fresh and yet also catchily familiar.
I’ve come to see with some delight that the current crop of Cornish musicians seem to be ever open and eager to forge an almost county-wide musical melting pot, exploring new and contrasting directions, ideas and textures from the multitude of side bands and mini supergroups they form, all so enviably prolific and driven, bursting with enthusiasm and a generous and genuine desire to collaborate, evolve, and create. Little Clone Humans, however, feels like more than just another explorative ‘extra’ project, with an already healthy set of fully formed songs and an undeniable, almost visibly rapid growth in their live presence achieved in the same time as it takes most bands to come up with a name. Listen to the track, look out for upcoming gigs, and file firmly under ‘one to watch’.
Listen to ‘Hatchet’ here: