Albums that bring a reunion of a band are either overly produced and something that feels forced, or a reminder of why you love the band’s material, and cements a legacy that wasn’t completely imprinted before. Hum has created a cult like following over the last few decades, and even if you don’t know who they are, you most likely love music inspired by Hum or helped created by members of the band.
Twenty two years since the last release, it was a shock to see the name Hum pop up in streaming services and music websites instantaneously. I’m sure like many, a spark grew in your gut of excitement, and the rest overlooked the announcement of a new release from the band. And yet, here we sit in the year 2020 with a new album, Inlet.
The album runtime is a little under an hour with only eight tracks, obviously focusing on the layered guitar work and massive atmospheric sound that Hum has balanced excellently. The equal nature of blending shoegaze/stoner doom/alternative rock/sludge metal, is no easy task. The chugs and riffs carry a lot of weight moving songs forward without feeling overdone.
While a lot of attention is on the instrumentals, the vocal work is also in need of attention from listeners. Gut punching verses and choruses help the band be launched into this time, with many bands latching onto shoegaze and doom as a way of playing pedals and creating new sounds, vocal work isn’t always paid the attention it deserves. Hum take what they did long ago and elevate it in a way that’s not pretentious or overall rises.
The opening of the record will give chills, with something that sounds familiar yet crisp to the ears. Heavy drums that sound almost computer generated because they are perfectly executed, have a chorus that even when the record ends sticks with you, “Unwinged and flightless and difficult to see, you collect me”.
‘Desert Rambler’ has a heavy riff that chills to the bone and doesn’t let up. The closing verse is gut wrenching and beautiful, “You can’t know the hours that kept me awake, awake with the start and the instruments say I’ve come so far, a stag and a doe and a surface here are being lost, hope wasn’t here, but it slept in the seeds of a lone dust, do you feel loved?”, a perfect way to encapsulate the balance Hum has on Inlet.
There is not one dull moment over the lengthy tracks. With albums or tracks that are long, you feel as if there are moments that are cut and pasted to create length. Inlet just simply, gets it. Understanding what TOOL and Deftones have done to create strong foundations in heaviness and instrumental, Hum don’t try to reinvent anything but pay homage and lay their own path in a time where it’s hard to find anything that sounds new. If this is the last release we ever have from Hum, they have done more than enough to keep their cult fan base happy until the end of time.