Downward Is Heavenward

Hum - Downward Is Heavenward ©1997 BMG Entertainment
1. Isle Of The Cheetah
2. Cominí Home
3. If You Are To Bloom
4. Ms. Lazarus
5. Afternoon With The Axolotis
6. Green To Me
7. Dreamboat
8. The Inuit Promise
9. Apollo
10. The Scientists

Hum, in all their space age weirdness and seemingly nonexistent brush with mainstream radio, never really stood a chance. Their sound was simply too lofty, too ambitious, and altogether too good to make much of a dent in the mainstream rock world. Anyone who has heard this band will loudly decry that this is a crying shame and that anyone with ears should track this and their debut album down.

The music, you ask? Well, Hum had an ear for a huge, holistic, all-encompassing brand of modernized progressive hard rock that never sacrificed a chance at the occasional intimate moment within the din of multilayered, effects-laden guitar riffs and solid rhythms. Frontman Matt Talbottís common man delivery is redolent of Ken Andrews (Failure) and is totally free of any Buckley-ism or wanton vibrato. In every technical sense, he is a fairly lousy singer, but itís nearly impossible to imagine anyone else at the mic and hey, at least he stays in key, which is more than I can say for virtually every current emo singer. While the bandís primary strengths lay in thick walls of effects-laden distortion and guitar noise, the albumís best track is the starkly beautiful ďApolloĒ, which is Hum at its most intimate.

Hum would combust after this albumís release. Thankfully, they left is with this, a forgotten 90s rock gem. Fans of Failure and the short-lived Handsome would do well in hearing this.

Review by Alec A. Head

Review date: 03/2004

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