HUM – ” Inlet ” Best Albums Of 2020

Posted: July 31, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

If Lush measures a 2 on the Swervedriver-O-Meter and My Bloody Valentine a 7, Hum is a definate solid 9. Unlike most American disciples of the shoegaze boom, this Illinois-based band delivered metallic riffs — riffs sludgy and heavy enough to earn fans like Deftones (Chino Moreno famously cited the band as an influence), Deafheaven, and possibly other metal bands beginning with the letter “D. Where have this band been or what have they been doing all these years.

On Hum’s overdriven “Waves,” you can hear the windy central guitar line try to outdo itself in real time as their pedal-fiddling reaches life-affirming heights. Its mythical scale is only enhanced by lines of an apocalypse—but a calming and poetic one at that: “And the traces of morning will lead us to the end / Where the dying landscape meets the water / And the waves of you roll over me again.”

Hum’s appealing mix of fuzzy swirl, post-hardcore intensity, and interstellar imagery reached its peak on 1995’s You’d Prefer an Astronaut, which even produced a minor rock radio hit with “Stars.” The band’s brief major-label run concluded with 1998’s Downward Is Heavenward, which also seemed to be the end of the band’s recording career — until a month ago. Inlet, the band’s new, long-rumoured fifth album, evokes cosmic expanse with lengthy, extravagantly textured burners like “Desert Rambler” and “The Summoning.”

When an album this thick drops out of nowhere, it’s bound to reverberate. For years, Hum had been providing regular updates on their first album since 1998’s Downward Is Heavenward. Yet when Inlet emerged without an official announcement or rollout in June, it was the best kind of startling. An even better surprise: The album holds its own with the Illinois space-rockers’ best. Inlet is monolithic in its splendour, its dense, churning power-chord riffs glazed over with a faint hypnotic glimmer. Few artists measured up to its heaviness or its prettiness in 2020.

It doesn’t seem like a good idea for any band from the 90s to reemerge now, in 2020, with their first record in over two decades. So much has changed. But one incredible thing that happened this very strange year was that Hum yes, “Stars” Hum—dropped with an absolute banger of an album, their first in 22 years. In their earlier days, Hum were outsiders, never fully fitting into the boxes of alt-rock or shoegaze or grunge. But they influenced so many contemporary bands that now, they somehow feel more modern. Sculptural, exploratory, and meditative, Inlet is a continuation of a concept (perhaps most succinctly put, “space rock”) and an ambitious re-examination of the possibilities of texture. Proggy without being nerdy, hard without being not angry, and vast without being hollow, it’s a mushroom trip through the cosmos, from the oceanic opener “Waves” to the swirling “Step Into You,” which offers an escape to “a desert that blooms in our darkest days.” “I’m lost,” sighs singer and guitarist Matt Talbott. That’s fine; just take us with you

To date Hum has only made one album. So in terms of recent achievements, the wholly unexpected “Inlet”

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