Sanguine Hum - Now We Have Power,
Sanguine Hum began as a musical collaboration in the early 2000’s between school friends Joff Winks (vocals, guitar) and Matt Baber (piano, keyboards, guitar), who were both inspired by artists such as the Flaming Lips, Tortoise, Aphex Twin and Frank Zappa. Operating under three different monikers – Joff Winks Band, Antique Seeking Nuns and Nunbient – during which time Brad Waissman (bass, Chapman stick, double bass) and drummer Paul Mallyon joined the party - the band eventually settled on the name Sanguine Hum with the release of their first album, ‘Diving Bell’, in 2009. Paul left after that album, being replaced by Andrew Booker, but has returned as a guest in time for the sequel to 2015’s acclaimed concept album ‘Now We Have Light’. The story of Don continues through a surreal lyrical and musical landscape, as the band continue in their efforts to really sound like no-one else in the prog scene yet also being instantly accessible and interesting.
Steven Wilson has obviously been a major influence on the band, but less with his solo albums but more with Porcupine Tree and (especially) no-man, while there are times when Tangerine Dream come into play, as well as Big Big Train. Interestingly, they are classified by ProgArchives as a neo-prog outfit, but if I was going to shoehorn them into a sub-genre then I would move more towards Crossover as there are strong pop elements in their music. It is such an easy album to listen to, while never falling into the trap of being easy listening, and there is a great deal going on from all involved, even though it may come across as simplistic at times. A trumpet is brought in on a couple of numbers, to add additional depth, and overall this is a sheer delight from beginning to end. There is a high use of piano underpinning the sound, while guitar is rocked sparingly and the ear is drawn towards the vocals at all times. An album of real songs, this is both fresh and refreshing, something to relax with at the end of the day.