Human Instinct: Midnight Sun (Ode)

 |   |  2 min read

Human Instinct: Midnight Sun (Ode)

When thirtysomething guitarist Joel Haines invited me to the launch of the new Human Instinct album he told me he'd joined the group. I said, “ You've joined what used to one of the most dangerous bands in the country! Good luck.”

They might not have been, but in the late Sixties/early Seventies New Zealand bands like Human Instinct, Ticket and the Underdogs were impressively adult to me. A few years older, they didn't fanny about with pop music and knew dark things like the blues and illicit substances.

Human Instinct's second album Stoned Guitar (1970) is a Kiwi classic and evidence Billy TK was the Maori Hendrix.stonedguitar

Human Instinct grew out of the Four Fours – a mid 60s pop band – which included guitarist Bill Ward and Maurice Greer, the singer, standing-up drummer and sole constant in HI.

The Four Fours toured with the Stones, went to London in 66, changed their name, grew their hair, released well-received but not chart-bothering singles, supported Cream and returned home after two years. Ward was replaced by Billy TK and the story really began.

Their sound was loud and psychedelic, they went back to London, scored a following, came back to record, Neil Edward replaced bassist Larry Waide, TK left, keyboard player Graeme Collins joined, then guitarist Martin Hope from the Fourmyula.

They released five albums -- Burning Up Years, Stoned Guitar and Pins In It (with TK), then Snatmin Cuthin? and The Hustler (with Hope).

In the late Nineties a German label Little Wing of Refugees released the first three on vinyl in a limited edition box set, then the other two in a solid gatefold as The Zodiac Years. There was something a little suspicious about the deal as I recall, but I was just real glad to have them.

In 2001 Greer belatedly delivered Peg Leg, an unreleased '75 album recorded at Stebbings.

And now Human Instinct – Greer (who still has Brian Jones' hair), Edwards, the fiery Haines at the core – have this new album which features Murray Grindlay (Underdogs), former Enz-man Eddie Rayner on keyboards and a cover of Split Enz' Dirty Creature.

Haines conjures up kiss-the-sky attitude when required and Midnight Sun – mostly revisits to material from those first three albums, two with TK – is highly respectable, but I suspect will be mostly of appeal to greybeards who remember the band from their heyday in Auckland clubs like the notorious Bo Peep.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Pint of Blood (Anti)

Jolie Holland and the Grand Chandeliers: Pint of Blood (Anti)

This being Holland's first album since 2008's excellent The Living and the Dead, it naturally arrives much anticipated. But while some have suggested it harkens back to her style on the very... > Read more

The Courtneys: The Courtneys (Conquest of Noise/Flying In)

The Courtneys: The Courtneys (Conquest of Noise/Flying In)

Dunno about you, but sometimes when you've heard enough polished pop you just want a bit of fun-infused, lo-fi, unschooled but thoroughly enjoyable pop-rock where fast strummed, chiming guitars and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; The Legacy of Electronic Funk

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; The Legacy of Electronic Funk

Although not quite possessing the same stone-cold enjoyment of The Legacy of Disco in this budget-priced, three-CD series, here is where -- in the Eighties -- funk, post-disco, synthesisers and... > Read more

LORETTA LUX PHOTOGRAPHER: A disturbing childhood

LORETTA LUX PHOTOGRAPHER: A disturbing childhood

The child looks strange somehow. There is something you cannot put your finger on. The head slightly too big, the pupils of the eyes a little too penetrating, perhaps? The image radiates silence,... > Read more