Every year the music world is abuzz with rumours of notable bands reforming for reunion tours or coming out of the woodwork to put out a new album. 2020 has already had its fair share of rumblings, but even with rumours circulating, few were prepared for the sudden return of Illinois veterans Hum last month. On their first studio album in 22 years, the band showed that their unique mojo has aged like fine wine.
From an instrumental standpoint, the album is one of the best produced of 2020. Tim Lash’s guitarwork, and sound, is stellar across the entire board, and an inspiring testament to his own abilities as performer and mixer. It also shows the prowess of the technical personnel on the album – James Treichler (engineering) and Ryan Smith (mastering). The guitars sound massive, clear and compelling, but do not overpower the balance of the ensemble. Everything is outstandingly copacetic.
Hum’s utilisation of post and indie rock, doom-oriented riffs and shoegaze has not wavered from the the general scope of their sonic formula. The content, even with a darker, warmer and more melancholic aura, still exemplifies the group’s core identity — a sonic amalgamation of genres. Two key points that typify this slight but significant mood shift are ‘The Summoning’ and ‘Cloud City’. The former track is steeped in doom and gloom, with a lyrical shimmer floating on top like a windsurfer gliding across the surface of an introspective world. ‘Cloud City’ sits more in the realm of post and indie rock than the previous track, and harks back more directly to the sonic profile of Hum pre-2000.
Inlet shows Hum at a peak moment after more than two decades absent of major studio work. Over 20 years of time to think and reflect. There is a sense of numbness, of change, of new perspective that has prospered over time. It’s as if a youthful daydream has finally disappeared and all that can now be seen is reality in all its stark, profound beauty.
Inlet is out now and can be purchased here.
Words: Garrett Tanner