“Becoming Human” is the fourth solo album by Simon Collins, also known as Phil’s son. It comes after the 2013 release of a stellar album by Sound of Contact “Dimensionaut” on which Simon was the lead vocalist and drummer. Former SoC colleague Kelly Avril Nordstrom joins Simon on “Becoming Human.” While there’s a hint of SoC here and there, this album is not a follow up to “Dimensionaut.” Instead, it embraces electronica way way way too much. Robbie Bronnimann is listed as keys, programming, and sound design. Two things that I do not need: a lot of programming and sound that needs to be “designed.”
While Simon sounds great vocally, his drums often don’t sound like he is playing them. Yes in some cases it’s clearly programming but in other spots the drums sound incredibly flat. I don’t expect the gated drum sound of his dad but this is really dull. Songs like “The Universe Inside Of Me” are so over run with technology they are more annoying than listenable. And while “This is the Time” does survive the overuse of programming, it makes me wonder just how great the song would be in Bronnimann had never shown up for the sessions. “I Will Be Waiting” reminds me a bit of “In the Air Tonight” but again, there are so many beeps and blips that the song is really wrecked. The drums sound good at the 4 minute mark at least. Oh well.
The 9 plus minute closer “Dead Ends” start off with excellent use of synths to give atmosphere. The start of the song is great! Well, until the shitty electronica shows up once again to rip the heart out of what could have been an awesome song. “Becoming Human” is a rather ironic title since the album is dominated by computers and tech. Simon Collins – “Becoming Synthetic” would be more appropriate. The songs underneath all of this clutter are pretty good but when you have to deal with headache inducing technology, it prevents any real enjoyment from happening. Again this is NOT Sound of Contact…unfortunately. That ship has sailed whilst this ship sank under it’s own weight.
Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l.
Release Date: 4 September 2020