Essential New Music: Possible Humans’ “Everybody Split”

Possible Humans are five guys from Melbourne, Australia, but if I told you they were from another time you’d believe me. They favor a trebly, propulsive strum that attained its apotheosis around the time these guys were born. Think early R.E.M., pre-emigration Moles or Birdnest Roys, and you’ve got the blueprint. But while it’s not exactly a map to pop domination, the page never yellows, and in the quintet’s collective hands it results in music that stands tall on its own.

Like the aforementioned bands, these Humans favor lyrics that imply meaning without giving it all away. It’s really the guitars, terse and tightly wound, that do the talking. They invite you into a state of sustained tension that makes you both yearn for resolution and want it to wait just a little bit longer. That suspension makes “Born Stoned,” the one song where they put a match to the formula and let it burn, even more of a release.

—Bill Meyer