Late to the Party: Hum- One

I’ve hinted a few times that I’m naturally an asshole, but I’ve been in remission more and more lately. I also refuse to allow the more confrontational part of my personality to dictate what’s going on in Clean and Sober Stoner.

I do lapse from time to time. For instance, I was recently checking out the Stoner Rock Army site, and saw yet another band post something like, well, nothing. Just a link to Bandcamp, and that’s it. I tried to prompt them by asking them to tell us more about it. In reply, they gave me what I took and take to be a smartass answer.

Really! Ok, moogerfoogers, it’s go time…

After careful listening and consideration, I find much to criticize about Hum and their album, One. And none of it has anything to do with their music. In fact, this is the kind of release that I go completely crazy over. The playing is top-notch, the arrangements are virtually perfect, and everything comes together in a way that blows my mind.

Since this is a quick, Late to the Party Post, let me get to the point. If you’re a fan of post-rock like Somali Yacht Club, you probably need to hear this. Not that they’re a clone or a copy, but they manage to establish and maintain a similar atmosphere, but without the tendency to drift too long on a theme or wander aimlessly longer than needed. There’s a discipline and apparent talent towards self-editing that’s sorely lacking in this style of post-rock/progressive/psychedelic/stoner eclectic goodness.

THE standout track that got me off my ass and raising my fist in triumph was Rise of the Locust. An almost sinister, dissonant intro with some nasty, overdriven bass accompanied by equally dark and brooding guitars. Holy shit, this has the same feel and drive of Red-era King Crimson, and ends on the most Fripp-worship-inspired climax I’ve heard since, well, Red. The song is its own beast, but the pedigree is unmistakable. It’s not derivative by any means, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that the guitarist knows his stuff, and is able to incorporate an approach that demands an unusual amount of dedication and focus.

The same can be said about all three of the musicians. The bass playing is supple, able to switch gears on a time. It’s almost a masterclass of tone and technique. The drumming…well, if you ever wanted to hear Bill Bruford without the bloat, this it. He knows how and when to apply every technique at his disposal for maximum effect.

If you hunger, CRAVE modern, post-rock-on-the-verge-of progressive, heavy psych with a dash of stoner, you should definitely add Hum to your collection. The entire album runs a mere 38 minutes, and every song comes across as the perfect, edited version of what the song should be. One is like a collection of my favorite bits of this kind of music, with none of the stuff I have to overlook in order to enjoy it.

As for my criticisms, screw it. The music really should speak for itself, and One speaks in one of my favorite languages!

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