When the title of an album is You Are Happy, they aren’t asking but rather telling you. Non-Bio have this new album out called just that and it is a harsh industrial look at the modern age. Howard Gardner is the man behind Non-Bio, resident of London and this is the first album release since 2018.
This is your “Induction“. You will obey, you will fear, you won’t question and accept what is given to you. There is no resistance because it is not in your interest… or that is what you are told and that is solidified with “Death To The Beat“, an angry litany of how people have been led astray with false promises and fears. It is heavy and brutal in it’s criticism. “Create Problems” has that great experimental feel with the off beats, adding to the idea that not all is well in the world.
Fourth track is “Crush” and it is full of rhythmic noise, lambasting your senses under it’s weight to push you down. Not as insistent but sludgy and dark is “Collapse Noise” and I am not sure if it is me or are there electronic crows/raven in the background ready to pick over the bones? The instrumental title track, “You Are Happy” is a combination of static beats, hissing electronic modulated noise and verbal snippets taken from speeches, such as Gandhi and the alike on human happiness. I never knew the calorific count of the human body but I do now due to “Zombie Influencer“, so thank you Non-Bio if I ever should feel the need for some soylent green. Creepy and unsettling, Gardner quantifies how much you will satisfy the hungry zombie hordes.
“Nerve Market” has an industrialized, militarized timing and it is about the mechanization of humans and the loss of their ties to what makes them human. Pounding pounding into the ground as you become the dust, as you “Worship Dust” because you are a part of the industrial machine. The instrumental, “Are You Still Listening?” creates the impression of unease by being slightly off as it chirps at you, which leads you into “Positron Pill” and it is abrasively trying to pry your head open and wants you to burn everything. “Really Existing People” could be called the crunch dance track and herein lays the juxtaposition between the gritty sounds and the clinical words.
Such an odd title for a song, “Oppressor, She Loves You” and the lyrics could be from a science fiction and yet this is based in the current world. The drone and constant rhythm lull you into obedience, so you give your all before your disintegration. The theme continues in “Docile Thunder” that does indeed thunder on, wending its way into your ears. Last track, “Taint Of Tomorrow” is driving rhythmic noise that nails home the intent of the album… the expectation that you accept and don’t question.
if you haven’t guessed by now, this is an album with an agenda, inspired by the current policies and political landscape of the United Kingdom and watching others further afield. A commentary on society, where those who have little, also have the most to lose. It may also be a reflection that the population had been cowed into general acceptance unlike the civil unrest of the 70s and 80s which spawned industrial experimental artists like Test Dept, Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA. Non-Bio is following in their footsteps, under their own flag of angst ridden, fervour because in times of social injustice and inequality, industrial music seems to come to the forefront. You Are Happy is a great album with a lot of heart and soul and just maybe, Non-Bio will be part of the revolution!