so hum is as refreshing as the chill of an autumn morning and warm like the glow of the waning summer sun.
There was a time during my university years when it seemed like nature flipped a switch on the first of September and turned off summer. Immediately, my sleeves needed to get longer as the days got dramatically shorter, which inevitably influenced my music of choice. Out went the breezy pseudo-pop radio fodder, and in came sounds more serious and idiosyncratic. That feeling hit me again this past labour Day weekend when I stumbled upon Toronto-based duo so hum’s two-day-old self-titled debut. Immediately calling to mind another jazz-influenced, genre-obliterating late-summer debut, so hum is as refreshing as the chill of an autumn morning and warm like the glow of the waning summer sun.
The band’s experimental nature is evident from the start: “all in one pieces” is a collision of trip-hop beats, ornery sax blasts and subtle jazz inflections. The sense of playfulness and exploration extends to so hum’s lyrics as well, building momentum and tension from unexpected rhymes that are less about telling a story than transmitting a vibe. “perk” is radiant pop — indeed an “indescribable feeling” as AJ and Jacob Wright sing of in the chorus. The siblings harmonize over the slightest of skittering beats and swirling psychedelic melodies that crescendoes into a rapid-fire call to action (“Do it do it do it do it do it do it do it”).
Tracks like “nova,” “high strangeness,” and “lurk” call to mind fellow sound experimenters Suuns and Absolutely Free, other bands whose insouciant music bows down to no traditional or formality (see mostly-instrumental “redbean” and “bye function”). Closer “d.o.p.” is an opalescent delight. Like the whole of its parent album, the song is a glory box whose hypnotic tempo and dreamy synth washes sit nicely beside so hum’s more out-there musical leanings. so hum is a curiosity that continuously uncovers its pleasures the more I indulge in it.
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