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Abandoned Pools - Humanistic (2001)

Abandoned Pools - Humanistic (2001): A Review

Abandoned Pools is the musical project of Tommy Walter, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who rose to fame as the bassist of the alternative rock band The Eels. In 2001, he released his debut album as Abandoned Pools, titled Humanistic, which showcased his talent and versatility as a solo artist. The album was co-produced by Paul Q. Kolderie and Sean Slade, who had worked with bands like Radiohead, Hole, and Pixies.

Humanistic is a blend of alternative rock, industrial rock, and synth-pop, with influences from Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, and The Cure. The album features a contrast of dark, gloomy, and sometimes aggressive songs such as "The Remedy" and "Blood" and more serene, upbeat tracks like "Start Over" and "Sunny Day." Walter's vocals range from soft and melodic to distorted and angry, depending on the mood of the song. He also plays most of the instruments on the album, including guitar, bass, keyboard, and drum programming. Four tracks include backing vocals by Angie Hart of Frente!, whose harmony style alongside Walter's somewhat androgynous voice creates a unique vocal chemistry.

The album explores themes of alienation, loneliness, depression, and self-destruction, as well as hope, love, and redemption. Walter has said that the album was inspired by his personal experiences and struggles, as well as his fascination with human psychology and behavior. Some of the songs also reflect his dissatisfaction with the music industry and his former band. For example, "The Remedy" is a sarcastic response to the pressure he felt to write a hit song, while "Monster" is a critique of the superficiality and greed of fame.

Humanistic received positive reviews from critics and fans alike, who praised Walter's creativity, originality, and emotion. The album also gained exposure through various media outlets, such as MTV, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, and the animated series Clone High, which featured several songs from the album. However, the album did not achieve commercial success, partly due to the lack of promotion and support from Walter's label, Extasy Records, which dissolved shortly after the album's release.

Humanistic is a hidden gem in the alternative rock scene of the early 2000s. It is a powerful and personal statement from a talented musician who dared to express himself without compromise. It is an album that deserves to be rediscovered by fans of intelligent and emotional rock music.

Abandoned Pools - Humanistic (2001): A Track-by-Track Analysis

In this section, we will take a closer look at each of the 12 tracks on Humanistic, and explore their lyrics, music, and meaning.

The Remedy: The opening track and one of the singles from the album, "The Remedy" is a catchy and energetic rock song that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The song is about Walter's frustration with the music industry and his desire to break free from its constraints. He sings, "I don't need a remedy / I need a reason / Something to believe in / Something to sink my teeth into." The song features distorted guitars, pounding drums, and synth effects that create a sense of urgency and rebellion.

Mercy Kiss: The second single and one of the most popular songs from the album, "Mercy Kiss" is a melodic and romantic song that contrasts with the darker themes of the album. The song is about Walter's love for a girl who is out of his league, and his hope that she will give him a chance. He sings, "You're everything I ever wanted / You're everything I can't have / Can I just have one more mercy kiss / Before you take it all away." The song features acoustic guitar, organ, and soft vocals that create a sense of sweetness and longing.

Start Over: The third track and one of the songs featured on Clone High, "Start Over" is an upbeat and optimistic song that encourages the listener to overcome their past mistakes and s


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