Sanguine Hum are Antique Seeking Nuns!? In Germany we would say ‘jein’ (ja und nein) – yes and no! On one side … well it’s the same line-up exactly … and distribution of roles, at least when speaking of the instruments. However – the Nuns’ compositions are generally based on early ideas by Joff Winks (guitars, vocals) and Matt Baber (keyboards) who musically collaborate since their schooldays. This time though the complete band, also comprising drummer Paul Mallyon and Brad Waissman (bass), are responsible for song-writing and production. And they are drifting away from the canterbury origin, stylistically make progress, clearly widen the scope.
So in order to manifest the transition, the first official band release ‘Plays The Nuns – Live 2009′ consequently featured ‘old’ stuff, played on a stage. What ever the reason is for the change of name … the Nuns are SANGUINE HUM now since 2009 – basta! What remains are significant elements with recognition value, speaking of Joff Winks’ excellent voice for example or the perfected interaction in general. Yes, what they even have improved here and there … I really dig the charming melodies, the cosy atmosphere they implement on ‘Diving Bell’. This includes excellent musicianship, guaranteed once again.
If you like … just call me an enthusiastic overreacting fanboy when it comes to this fellows, never mind. Please do yourself a favour and reserve enough time in order to let it take effect. They kindly sent me a pre CD-R – which means, I already had time to get in for some weeks. During the first round I was a bit disappointed in light of compositions which sounded more tending to mainstream music in some way – superficially though. It only took time to assimilate the band’s new spirit indeed. And so I finally agree with Matt, who promised that ‘although if anything this album is more complicated than the Nuns stuff’.
Now, necessarily getting into the songs, they immediately appear heavier edged than ever on the opener No More Than We Deserve – that said with more of a proper rock feel. Straight to the point – the excellent rhythm fraction has a big share. This is lush due to multiple guitar dominance, provided with differing time signatures, which makes it really entertaining. The song swifts to a spacey flow and perfectly blends into the follower The Ladder – turning back to the canterbury infected times a bit – the electric piano is perfectly utilized here. Dark Ages starts relatively innocent but then gradually evolves to a fantastic arrangement where the groovy instrumental Coast Of Nebraska offers rather psychedelic coloured guitars.
Nothing Between Us is such a lovely ballad with acoustic guitar, as for my impression focussed on the vocals – so sweet! Concerning some decent synth patterns I’m inclined to claim this is caused by a theremin. At the latest with the title track everything gets room for development. They are alternating between atmospheric tinged and groovy neo prog parts – the sensitive keyboard input attracts attention including sparkling Rhodes piano … and another spacey downfall appears towards the end.
I’m completely overwhelmed with emotion! A fantastic production which comes with a vinyl length, but does not contain any filler, nor any minute which is needless. This album surely deserves attention – ‘Diving Bell’ should join every sophisticated prog music collection. As far as I’m concerned … the songs cause cheerfulness, offer so much positive energy, warm my heart – even after a long time, can’t find other words right now. Essential, yes – a masterpiece? Probably – time will tell. Finally … to come to an end for the moment … my hope is to get the chance to see them playing live someday. Preferably as soon as possible …