This is a review of "Untitled" recorded by Personal Hell. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2002.
The biog of Personal Hell tells the tale of one man's fight (Arfan Shah - the man behind the music) to push his poetry accompanied alternative dance beats to the masses. It's a badly written and mixed up tale that leaves you confused as to the period of time you are reading about - and had I been paying a little more attention then I would have recognised it as a prelude to the musical mess that awaited me. I am a big fan of good poetry and of course music, but I have never cared much for the combination of the two, believing they should be kept well apart. A few in the past have altered my opinion (not least local boys Cosmonaut) but mainly my views remain unaltered.
Arfan Shah's poetry is bad...there's no easy or polite way to say it. There is no humour and far too much self importance to make it enjoyable. He seems unsure whether he should be singing or sticking to the spoken word approach and instead half heartedly delivers somewhere in the middle. The backing tracks are not that bad although track 3 "Touching Distance" has the musical effect of slowly turning screws in to the side of your head. Opener "Humans" which was produced by Andy Whitmore (Danni Minogue and Peter Andre) is the best track here but it's not saying much. It's mixed up between pop and Chumbawumba style political sob stories. If "Down People" doesn't get you down then you must be one very happy person and the less said about closer "Touching Distance" the better.
From the first two tracks Afran shows his potential with the backing tracks and if he could turn his hand to a more instrumental approach or find a vocalist then he would at least be on the right road. Apart from that this is bedroom electronica that should very firmly be put under the bed and forgotten about.