In the interim between the six years of Cary Judd's debut, Perfect Uncertain, and 2006's Looking Back from Space, the songwriter has been working up to a new level, releasing this marvel of prog-pop. The wait has been worth it. Take the gentler more shimmering aspects of Mission UK, Steve Kilbey, Innocence Mission, and a number of the emo-rockers, and you have a very good approximation of what's going on in Goodnight Human. The short opening ditty lends a great insight into this guy's unusual way of looking at things:
You don't have to look up to the stars
There was a time when the world was flat
Judd's a highly competent multi-instrumentalist and singer but brings in a number of session men to round out his small personal armada, making for well fleshed atmospheres. Probably a goodly part of the integrity of the 11 cuts derives from the fact that he produced and co-engineered the disc. That way, we get exactly what was intended, shorn of any previous outside emendations that may have occurred in the first two releases. Each cut's a keeper and a small universe unto itself, exercises in taking the folk-rock tradition well into its technological and intellectual next steps.
The symphonic component throughout Goodnight Human takes turns in being amplified or recessed but is never very far from a rhythmic groove. Judd's lyrics are chiefly love songs but not derived from the chart worshipped Run-of-the-Mill School, cuts with interspersed social criticisms insightful and Humanistic, far short of caustic, brimming with concerns for the human condition. There's a bit of the Buggles floating throughout the CD, especially in cuts like Sarah, nor are Rundgren and the better moments of mid and later Utopia far from the mix, as well as touches of Teardrop Explodes and others. Throw in a bit of Metro and Duncan Browne and you pretty much have the spectrum and the infectiousness of the songs nailed. It's obvious the future of pop is going to have to be as progressive as this CD or it's going to go the way of the dodo.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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