Hum – Electra2000

Electra2000 is the second album from Hum, and it’s here that you can see them start honing into their signature sound with large bouts of guitar aggression. Coming from 1991’s Fillet Show, we see the band come through a huge transition. Matt Talbott took in the  vocal duties from former member Andy Switzky and Jeff Dempsey filled in for bass. Along with Bryan St. Pere (Who’s recent passing we are commemorating with this series of reviews) on drums and Tim Lash doubling Talbott on guitars, we find the core of Hum being solidified into the band that we know and love. 

This album is composed of pure and unadulterated noise and catharsis. Everything feels epic and ambitious. Hum took their noise and garage-rock roots and molded it to their own will. While other bands in this era were steering into grunge and evolving into different branches of metal, Hum set their sights into the far reaches of the cosmos. It’s here that they start to feature space and science imagery that would later dominate their songs.

Opening track “Iron Clad Lou” starts with slow-burning arpeggios that feel cool and unassuming. Later on each member comes in and builds upon it layers of sound, placing loud riffs and loud rhythms over grandiose lyricism. It’s this combination that dominates the entirety of Electra2000.

“Shovel” is relentless and full of wide sweeping guitars that come in like the crashing of waves. It’s ebbs and flows are like the movement of the mountains or the forming of primordial energies, Matt’s vocals change from gritty to composed, expertly navigating the energies of the track. This pulsing wave of energy continues on to “Fire head”. “Sundress” has a rougher edge than its peers, featuring a wild and bold rhythm that feels adjacent to Nu Metal. A song that screams 90’s rock in every way.

The band’s preference for soft-loud dynamics also started on this album, as they explore the extremes of both (although they favor the latter). “Winder” starts on a subdued note that slowly develops into a sweaty breakdown by the end. The only quiet track in here is the first half of “Double Dip”, yet it’s still guided by riffs wailing and screeching on the sidelines. Later, it ends with a flood of guitars that channels the frustration and grief of its lyrics.

Electra2000 may not have been Hum’s most successful album, but this is where the band found their sound. A sound they would refine even further and would elevate them to greater heights. No matter what kind of music you’re into these days, this one still holds up and is well worth a re-visit. 

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