Inlet

Hum

Earth Analog Records/Polyvinyl, 2020

http://humband.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/12/2020

Well, here’s a surprise. Twenty-two years after the release of their last album, the brilliant Downward Is Heavenward, Illinois’ Hum has dropped a surprise new album, the nine song Inlet. Now if you’re only familiar with them because of “Stars,” a great track from 1995, there may not be much here to entertain you. The tracks here are dark, lo-fi and very dirty sounding. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Opening cut “Waves” sounds the closest to the band’s early work. There has been some criticism of the way the album is mixed, particularly with the sound of drummer Bryan St. Pere, but to these ears, everything sounds fine. The band comes through loud and clear and the song ends up coming off just majestically and almost orchestral in its tone and sound. Simply speaking, this is one of the most surprising and effective records I’ve heard all year.

The riffs in the nearly nine-minute “Desert Rambler” are so damn effective they almost tug at your soul. It’s definitely a top contender for song of the year. It’s almost impossible to describe how great a feeling it is to have a band like this, whose reputation has only grown exponentially larger since their late ‘90s breakup, to have material that is this compelling and rich. It just doesn’t happen with a lot of ‘90s alt rock bands, so for Hum to have been making music this powerful in secret makes the album all the more unique.

All through the album, the guitars have gotten heavier than one might remember them. Just listen to “The Summoning” or “Cloud City” and all you take away from it is “Wow, this is some heavy shit.” It’s just great to see in a year filled with so much heartbreak, anger, and disgust that a band that hasn’t been fully active since 1998 can come back and release such a great record. At least in the music world, things seem a bit more stable.

Rating: A-

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