CD REVIEW: The Humms

The Humms are back again with an incredibly long tracklist of psychobilly/punk/surf/garage rock. Most bands would decide to break all of this up into two albums or one and a couple of b-sides but not the Humms. The band is delivering Lemonland in all of its glory uncut. If you’re more the live type, the Humms are playing tonight at Flicker with Timmy Tumble. Now on to the review.

First, as always, a blurb about the artwork. I usually tend to shy away from the pure black and white covers but in this case it doesn’t bother me as much. I might’ve put something a bit more representative of the album on the cover (bright & swirly) but this’ll do.

Blood Sucking Vampire is a great way to kick off an album like Lemonland. It’s far more rockabilly than most of the other tracks but it works. I’ll take a blood sucking vampire over a glittery one any day. Think kooky spooky. Like Scooby-Doo.

 
Jesus Lied Not really a whole lot to say about this one. Fun, upbeat. 
Uncle Sam Took My Baby Away comes off as more of an upbeat work chant with more than a hint of rockabilly. I’m particularly fond of the harmonies here, something that many bands ignore. A great harmony can make or break a song. USTMB is an example. Consider it made.

Buttermilk leans more to the psychedelic end of the spectrum with fuzzy vocals, piercing guitar, and the drums thrown into the back of the mix. Sounds like it was recorded in the middle of an electrical storm the way that guitar overwhelms everything else.                                            

Don’t Think About Death goes into beach-rock mode. For some reason, I keep seeing a halloween beach party during this song. Complete with Frankenstein doing the monkey and Wolfman doing the Charlie Brown. Seriously, listen to it and tell me you can’t see that.
                           
Close Your Ears  sounds like a counter-intuitive order. Open your ears to this track and get surprised with sparkling harmonies worthy of indie-rock fame. Amazing what you can do with a guitar and a bit of creative vocalizations.
Sleepy, Sleepy perfect name for this sleepy track.
Fat Bat is still working with the almost Halloween-oriented nature of this album. A top track for me, if only for that nice intro with the fat bass and the hard to understand (at first) lyrics. Breakneck singing pace. And the awesome “fat bat!” sounds.
Stranger In Your Car was left off the vinyl version for space/time reasons and it’s a shame. Very danceable.

Brown Haired Devil is a bit more musically straightforward than the rest. If you’re the surf-rock type, this should be your jam. Hearing a bit of White Stripes being channeled in the vocals here.
Strawberry Glue. Not exactly sure what strawberry glue would do to a person but if it’s as powerful as this, I’ll take some.
Oh My Lawd also didn’t make the vinyl cut. Fuzzed out garage/psych rock at its best. Full of catchy hooks and insanely fun to rock out to. A bit spooky as well.

Talking To a Ghost didn’t make it to the vinyl either. Quiet compared to the rest of the album, “Ghost” is more of a connector piece than a full-on Humms song. Reminds me a lot of the proto-typical soft indie songwriters.

 Leave That Boy Alone. Again, not really a whole lot to say about this one. Pleasant enough but I kinda wish they’d have left this one off.

Gun was the last casualty of the vinyl format.I think the Humms should’ve left this one on. Really vampy and enjoyable. I found myself reciting the “peasant” line a ton. Sticks in your brain like glue. Strawberry? Perhaps.

Little Freaky Girl Like You is an upbeat track with a more mono-tone vocal delivery. The apathy in the vocals works against the lyrics (I like the way you talk girl). Makes for an interesting track but it comes off better live.

Escape From Lemonland was kinda pointless to leave on here when other songs were waiting in the wings.
When I Wake sung to the tune of “This Land is Your Land.” Normally, I’d be against this but it’s a pretty nice relief after the onslaught of the rest of the album.

Lemonland makes me want to force the Humms to swap names with the Awesomelies. At least then they’d be descriptive! Perfect for a ghoulish beach party (as mentioned above) or a good Halloween party. Dead serious, it’s honestly one of the best albums I’ve heard all year. I give it a 9 out of 10. 

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2 comments

  1. Get Lemonland on CD/Vinyl at http://www.thehumms.com/gypsyfarm/shop.html

    and “This Land is Your Land” was sang to the tune of “Little Darling, Pal of Mine” beautiful gospel song.

  2. You are right GFR. I knew there was another song that it sounded like but This Land is Your Land was the first to come to mind. Nice!

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