Album Review: Inlet by Hum

Hum

The reemergence of the band Hum is that of lost astronauts, revisiting the Earth, after over 20 years of flight. Their latest (and possibly greatest ) effort, Inlet, is massive. This is an album that undulates between the hardest and most ethereal they’ve ever been.

The landing of this album has been met with a very warm welcome from fans. With the current restraints on live music performance still pending, I’d chalk Hum up to be one of the most anticipated bands to hit any stage in 2021.

In this album review Hazy Eye Music Media’s contributor Joseph Strand reviews Hum’s fifth studio album, Inlet, released on June 23, 2020. “This 8 song album is another opus from Talbott.” Continue reading for Joseph’s full review.

All words by Joseph Strand

Inlet is an album that undulates between the hardest and most ethereal Hum have ever been. Courting dissonance to highlight colorful melodies is something Hum has always mastered and nothing has changed here. Bombardment that always leaves just the right amount of space for singer/rhythm guitar player Matt Talbott’s calm voice of reason. A voice that is unmoved by the torrential musical storm swirling about him.

Seemingly created in secret with his fellow sonic architects Tim Lash on lead guitar, Jack Dimpsey on bass player, and the hard hitter with the soft touch, Bryan St. Pere on drums. Hum have returned to mission-control and have brought back something beautiful to show us.

This 8 song album is another opus from Talbott. The average song length clocks in at almost 7 minutes per song. By the time I made it through the first two tracks, and was listening to ’Desert Rambler’, I had been caught in the album’s narrative undertow. Their signature waves of monumental distortion crashing up against the low grooves that fill the middle passage of this song are by far the most nostalgic for me. I feel the “old” Hum.

Beyond the characteristic elements that make up Hum’s sound, I found an enhanced sense of detachment in songs like ‘Folding’. Three and a half minutes into this full sounding track, it trickles into the ether of ambient guitar work. An exhilarating feeling of traveling through a strange and unplanned area of the stars and we enter a darker side of Hum. That disconnection of progressive and meditative.

This epic 8 song journey ultimately ends on a soft note with a calm Talbott stating “…reaching for you…finding your hand.” It is the perfect coda. Hum has come back to show us where they’ve been and it’s familiar yet alien. They’ve matured in suspended animation and have recorded their journey with sound. Hopefully we don’t have to survive another couple decades before they return to us again.

The landing of this album has been met with a very warm welcome from fans. With the current restraints on live music performance still pending, I’d chalk Hum up to be one of the most anticipated bands to hit any stage in 2021.

Critics will continue to call Hum many things, from emo to space rock to shoegaze-metal to metal-shoegaze but my favorite would have to be “Celestial Flannel-Core”. Which comes from an old friend and one of the biggest Hum fans I know, Matt Vrabel. Artistic vision aside, Hum fans have been instrumental in maintaining the connection that has kept their music alive even during too-long epochs of silence.

Be sure to check out the Official Hum Website for all music, merch, and news. Stream Inlet on Spotify:

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