Hum
Downward Is Heavenward


4.0
excellent

Review

by Zappa USER (12 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 80 replies | 13,710 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist


1 of 2 thought this review was well written

HUM are:
Jeff Dimpsey Bass, Vocals
Tim Lash Guitar, Vocals, Voices
Bryan St. Pere Drums, Vocals
Matt Talbott Guitar, Vocals

Released in 1997, this is HUM's final album, and it is often called their masterpiece (though, to be fair, this is the only release of theirs that I've heard). All Music Guide has called this album a "lost classic of '90s rock." I would have to say that I tend to agree with this. I had never heard of them until very recently, and now I'm angry that I was not let in on this little secret. But that's why this review is here, to let all of you who were like me up until now in on it. The album itself is at times gorgeous, at times extremely loud and epic, and at times gentle and personal. The band manages to cover all of this with only traditional rock instrumentation, and is even able to make music that is simultaneously gorgeous, loud, epic, gentle, and personal. Since you guys seem to love these, I will now break it down and do track by track reviews. Note that all of the ratings I give to individual tracks are in comparison to one another, and not to any sort of universal rating system. A 5/5 is a song that I think is one of the best ON THE ALBUM.

1. Isle of the Cheetah (6:38) - This is a great opening track. It starts with some sort of ambient sounds, then the song kicks in. This one really gives a good idea of what the entire album sounds like. It's spacey, with a very dense wall of guitar sound. Somehow, the mix makes it feel very gentle despite how dense the sound really is. The vocals are moderately quiet in the mix, and they are really pretty. 4/5.

2. Comin' Home (2:45) - A shorter tune comes next. It starts off with a neat guitar part, which gives way to a similar heavy guitar sound to the first tune. The vocals are a bit louder and seem to be more a focal point than in "Isle of the Cheetah." It's also heavier and more focused. A good tune, and a good contrast to the more epic and fleshed out tracks on the album. 3/5.

3. If You Are To Bloom (5:11) - This song starts out with some guitar sound, then a bit of acoustic strumming. From there an electric guitar riff comes in. It's more riff oriented and catchy than the first tune, but it is similarly spacey and thick. Around 3:20 or so the acoustic guitar comes back and joins the electric guitar, and the vocals fall out for awhile. It's not really a solo. When the vocals come back, they are drowned out by the guitar, drums, and bass. They're very quiet in the mix. I like how this sounds, thought. It ends with some guitar feedback. 3/5.

4. Ms. Lazarus (3:38) - This song has a nice guitar intro like most of the other songs. It's not as heavy as some of the other stuff. The vocals are louder on this one, like on "Comin' Home." It's got some nice acoustic and electric guitar parts. The track seems to gain momentum as it goes along, then the energy comes back down near the end. A really nice song. 4/5.

5. Afternoon With the Axolotis (6:29) - This one starts of slowly and quietly, and the guitars build up. Then the drums come in, and the guitar falls back out. A nice soft guitar part is present for awhile, and then some more distorted strumming begins. The vocals come in, quiet in the mix as you heard in previous tunes. It seems that the longer, more exploratory tunes seem to be guitar-centered with quite, understated vocals. The shorter rock tunes focus on the vocal more. The vocals are delivered in a very droll manner. Sort of monotone, but they add a lot to the tune nonetheless. After the first vocal verse finishes, there is a long guitar interlude. Then there is a second verse, followed by another long guitar part. This guitar part dissipates into nothing, and the sound of a helicopter finishes the last 30 or so seconds of the tune. 4/5

6. Green To Me (3:55) - This is a much more upbeat tune than the last, with a catchy guitar riff. Similar to "Ms. Lazarus". The vocal part is really pretty on this one. It comes at the perfect point in the record, because it breaks up some of the monotony with its very upbeat and different sound. Love it. 5/5.

7. Dreamboat (6:06) - This has some squealy guitars and nice drums in the beginning. It's rip-roarin'! Then things quiet down a lot before the vocals come in. As you can expect, things get moving and loud once again a bit later. This is another one that has a really great vocal part, but the guitars are excellent as well. About 4 minutes in things come to a halt, and change gears. It stays a stellar track, though. 5/5.

8. The Inuit Promise (6:06) - This one starts of pretty big, with an electric guitar riff. The intro is very short, and the vocals come in almost immediately. To be honest, it isn't a particularly strong start. Something about this tune just doesn't jive right for me, I can't quite put my finger on what it is. When the guitars fall almost completely out for awhile, about 3:45 or so, the vocal part is kind of appealing. The riff comes back, and it feels wrong to me again. I like the sounds at the very end, they're cool. I don't know what it is about this tune, but I can only give it a: 2/5.

9. Apollo (5:49) - This song is straight up gorgeous. It starts out very soft with a little guitar riff and some subtle cymbal crashes along with a nice repeated vocal part. I dig it from the start. Then the bass kicks in and the drums start to play a bit more. A different guitar part starts, and then comes the first verse. It's real down-tempo and sort of sad. It's the most sparse song on the album, as well. The parts seem to rise and fall throughout the tune, but never get as loud or dense as any of the other songs on the album. 5/5.

10. The Scientists (5:25) - This song is much more intense from the start than "Apollo". Heavy riffing, man! You think the guitar part will subside a bit just before the vocals come in, but it stays full throughout the first verse. Then it does fall down for the pretty vocal chorus. This is a really great tune, and the perfect way to finish things off. 5/5.

Hey, so that was fun.

As an overall rating, I give this album a very respectable: 4/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tangy zizzle
August 18th 2004



253 Comments


I'm still yet to check them out Zappa.

Zappa
August 18th 2004



355 Comments


Tsk tsk.

YDload
August 18th 2004



1207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've checked them out. I can't believe that this band hasn't had any commercial success. They're not only great, but marketable too!

Zappa
August 19th 2004



355 Comments


Check this album out, friends and neighbors.

MxShredder
August 19th 2004



58 Comments


is it anything like pink floyd? because i've heard pink floyd classified as space rock most of the time.

Zappa
August 19th 2004



355 Comments


They've got a lot more of a melodic metal or "post-hardcore" influence to them than Pink Floyd.

Zappa
December 30th 2004



355 Comments


Hey, I'm getting into this whole "bumping my old reviews" trend I've got going.

YDload
September 21st 2005



1207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great album Zappa, and I never would have known about it if it wasn't for this review. "Comin' Home" and "The Scientists" are probably my favorite songs here.

cbmartinez
September 22nd 2005



2525 Comments


Apparently Hopesfall was really influenced by these guys so I wanted to check them out. Do you see any similarities?

Zappa
October 15th 2005



355 Comments


I've never heard Hopesfall.

Zmev
October 15th 2005



983 Comments


http://www.purevolume.com/hopesfall

I've never heard this band before, I shall check it out.

Big Rocks
October 15th 2005



1 Comments


One of my favorite Albums.
i liked "You'd Prefer An Astronaut" over this album

Iai
Emeritus
November 1st 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just checked this out, finally. It's great stuff.

Jawaharal
November 1st 2005



1832 Comments


I never really liked this band.
I need to give it another chance.

Iai
Emeritus
November 1st 2005



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My review of this just made RYM's front page. Kewl.

YDload
November 8th 2005



1207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow, "Apollo" is such a moving song, I haven't really listened to it that much. But it really is something.

ktstein
January 31st 2006



438 Comments


Astronaut was better than this one...although, i probably listened to this one more because of the song "Apollo."

But yea...i gotta go outside and count some stars for a little while...

Jacob6293
January 31st 2006



125 Comments


I've never heard of the band..... no offense to the fans, but in my opinion HUM is a retarted name for a band.

ktstein
January 31st 2006



438 Comments


You mean to say you never heard the song that goes..

"She said she took the train to Mars, she' out back counting stars..."

DA DADDA DA, DA DA wa wa wa wawa....

How old r u?

YDload
January 31st 2006



1207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've never heard of the band..... no offense to the fans, but in my opinion HUM is a retarted name for a band.


So why are you even replying to this review? Don't you have anything better to do than skim through the review page and say "Hmm I don't like this band's name! I'd better tell everyone because it's important that they know!"

Oh wait, I get it now. The heartagram avatar...

...you thought this was a review for a HIM album! You were so desperate to tell everyone about your love for Ville Valo and anything Bam Margera touches that you just HAD to say something! You're just mad because this band's name is too close to one that you like.



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