Human Nature Architecture is the debut album from the Chinese band Backspace. On Human Nature Architecture, Backspace have sharpened their edges, extended their reach, and not so much evolved but mutated into new beings, as they explore the complexities of modern society, the fragmented minds that populate it, and the grotesque but all too human ways we navigate it. A slice of William Burroughs, a heavy hit of krautrock, a thick haze of surf rock, and dissociative technological nightmares thrown in for good measure, it’s a head trip worth taking.
Kicking off with Lost Him, the band sympathizes with the song’s protagonist, who wanders aimlessly in a dreamlike state in search of his better tendencies as his psyche gets uprooted and he is left in disarray. Vocal and guitarist Zheng Dong’s dry anxious delivery on The Chair In The Clouds deftly cuts through the hollow climb up the social ladder that masks our existential dread. Meanwhile, on Push, a double serving of razor-sharp guitars, crisp bass vibes, and gallant drums collapses into a hallucinatory schizophrenic breakdown that all but falls off the rails.
Before long, the band and its members have splintered into various selves, fallen prey to the digital age’s erosive ways, before withering away almost completely on the tense, heightened and frantically paced but fascinating Screen. Humble, hungry, and hectic, with enough bluster, finesse, and grit to awaken the most lost of souls, Backspace’s debut isn’t so much a cry for help as it is a rallying cry into the abyss that is our mind.