Complex, intriguing, exciting, delicate – how many clichés can I come up with? But the music of Sanguine Hum has all of these, and more, without ever sounding clichéd or derivative – a clever trick.
The nearest of the prog giants I could compare them to would actually be Gentle Giant and they possess a lot of that band’s love of developing a theme and creating something that stands as a piece rather than following a trend.
They have no qualms about throwing complex and inverted time signatures into the mix, nor do they have a fixation over a particular instrument or ‘sound’ but tracks like ‘Cognoscenti’ have an internal structure that no-one else is making today and if I had to point at a ‘signature’ it would be Joff Winks wistful voice set against Fender Rhodes and massive guitars. Matt Barbor’s Hammond, synths and Rhodes are cleverly used to create some wonderful textures but they don’t rely on them to create the music while Andrew Booker’s drums are brilliantly subtle and understated. The music would run away with itself if it weren’t for some sterling bass from Brad Waissman but the production keeps all of those talents in balance.
The three parts of the title track kept me coming back around and listening to them to try and plot the rhythms and changes but the music is so effortless and consistent that I found myself lost in the track for its full 15 minutes.
Oxford seems like the logical place for this to have been gestated, the dreaming spires and cobbled streets impacting on the vaulting and bubbling music beneath – simply gorgeous and a must see at the Borderline on June 7th.