The latest album from the psychedelic quintet is a magical racket of simple chords and echoing vocals. However, it takes great skill to sound this unassuming.
Stand-out tracks on the album range from the likes of the fast-paced ‘The Impasse’ to the much gentler ‘Off Screen’. The former of which is screechy and loud and in-your-face and amazing. Likewise, the closing track, ‘Retreat’, exhibits a quicker tempo to much of the rest of The Hum and within which the Hookworms’ trademark mumbled lyrics are even slightly less unintelligible than usual.
‘On Leaving’ demonstrates a more traditional rhythm and would appear to be the lovechild of 70s rock and 90s grunge. It is a remarkably long song that eventually builds to the crash of sound that Hookworms are known and loved for.
‘The Impasse’ is the track to have garnered the most attention so far and is reminiscent of the likes of Bo Ningen with its untamed energy and punk connotations. The repeated refrain of “I am made of stone” shouted out over distorted static makes for quite an impression.
‘On Leaving’ seamlessly feeds into the instrumental interlude of ‘iv’. The interlude itself is long and dirge-like although it eventually climbs to a hair-raising finish.
The album features three bizarrely brilliant- albeit uncomfortable- instrumental tracks that are imaginatively named ‘iv’, ‘v’ and ‘vi’. Moreover, the silence after each is something that becomes disconcertingly jarring in itself.
‘Beginners’ opens with small electronic (and even techno-like) chirps. The song develops to display the echoed shouts and screeching guitar that would be expected of Hookworms. However, it also makes use of what would appear to be an organ alongside human howls, which is a first even for the eclectic quintet.
The entire album exudes a vibe akin to distorted funfair music (in the best sense) or the tinny music blasted out on an American boardwalk. This is something particularly apparent in ‘On Leaving’ and ‘Radio Tokyo’. The latter of which is especially bouncy and cheerful.
Overall, the Hookworms’ The Hum is an asset to the psychedelic genre.