I was a high school freshman in 1980, when the big sister of one my classmates and fellow budding punks brought something wild back with her following her first year at Harvard: Fig. 14, the debut LP by Boston band Human Sexual Response. It was one of the weirdest records I’d heard at the time—fascinatingly creepy and unsettling to a 15-year-old, but also funny and pretty damn rocking. It had cool songs like the grinding “Dick and Jane,” the quirky “Jackie Onassis,” and the sleazy “What Does Sex Mean to Me?” I remember seeing the group perform soonafter on “Fridays,” a “Saturday Night Live” knockoff on ABC, and being struck by its novel set-up: a standard guitar/bass/drums trio behind a front line of not one but four vocalists—Casey Cameron, Larry Bangor, Dimi Lamot, and Windle Davis. The latter three have been Hudson residents for years, and on the heels of last year’s HSR reunion have released Unba Unba, a riveting DVD of a 1982 set at Boston club Streets.
A high-quality, 70-minute, professional multicamera job, Unba Unba takes its name from one of Fig. 14’s standouts (“Unba! Unba! Unba-leeevable!”) and includes vigorous romps through most of that album’s best tunes, as well as a suitably twisted version of the Balloon Farm’s psych-punk nugget “A Question of Temperature” and In a Roman Mood’s (1982) haunting “Land of the Glass Pinecones,” arguably HSR’s crowning achievement:
(This is the version from the Streets show, although it’s been cleaned up for the DVD, whose extras include a gallery of vintage gig fliers.)
Davis co-manages B&B the Inn at Hudson with Lamot, who in his drag persona, Musty Chiffon, hosts “KOOK,” a semi-regular DJ dance party. The next of those rollicking events takes place at the Half Moon in Hudson on June 14. For information on Unba Unba, visit Human Sexual Response of Facebook or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.