Hum – Fillet Show

The rock community has suffered a great loss a few days ago, as Hum revealed that their longtime drummer, Bryan St. Pere recently died at the age of 52. The band is revered as one of our favorites here in Buzzyband. Besides the fact that they are one of the most influential bands that came out of the 90’s – inspiring a slew of other musicians for generations to come – some of our staff on the website grew up near Champaign, where they were hailed as hometown heroes. 

As our tribute and to commemorate the passing of one of the best drummers in rock, we will be reviewing the albums of Hum, starting from their humble roots to how they’ve gained their reputation as the legends and trend-setters that they are. 

Their first album is Fillet Show which was released in 1991. Admittedly this one is totally different from the rest of their material. It is more loose in terms of sound and direction, and the inklings of the sweeping space rock that Hum is well known for hasn’t been fully realized yet – although you can hear small doses of it here and there with how massive some of the riffs are. 

You can tell that the band is still in their exploratory phase with this record, as it’s tone isn’t as serious as their later material.  Opener “Space Fuck” is fun and laid-back, with a carefree groove and a steaming-hot guitar solo. With this song you can see the initial inklings of what Hum would eventually sound like, but there are also plenty of detractors here. Follow-up “Formaldehyde” has a scrappy garage-punk attitude to it. Then frontman Andy Switzky offers a quirky vocal style that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. 

“Staring At The Sun” is another lighthearted track with a bouncy melody, yet the riffs and breakdowns are beefy and ambitious. “Kind of Knight” has a heavy and sinister Black Sabbath-like feel while “Lip Saga” has a more subdued, stoner-rock attitude. These large leaps in sound is the reason why some fans might say that Fillet Show isn’t worth their time, but I disagree. These are the formative years of the band, when everything felt fresh and there were a lot of possibilities to cover. In fact, along with the opener, “Detassler” and “I Like It” can both be classified as progenitors of the soon to be actualized Hum sound. On that merit alone, this is an album worth re-discovering.

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