Blasting Off with Hum and Failure

cbrickhouse

Posted: 06/29/2017 | Views: 1,507


I know nobody reads these articles so I decided to have a little fun with it and document my feelings on these two bands, both of which I still believe to be underrated even though they both have amassed fairly large cult followings since they first released their respective albums in the 90s.

I hear them get lumped together often, because in some ways they have slight similarities but honestly, if you are really a fan of both of them, you are very aware of their differences, from overall sound to the subject matter of their lyrics. I know they are both considered alternative music just because that's what they called most bands back then that were heavy rock with slight punk influence, but I'll always refer to them as "space rock".

I started listening to "You'd Prefer An Astronaut" by Hum in 1995 when it was released. Like many other Hum fans, I was exposed to them by them playing the living shit out of "Stars" on the radio. The funniest thing about that is the fact that the rest of the album makes "Stars" seem a little pedestrian. It's probably the catchiest song on the album, and I'd equate it to having similar popularity as "Stuck On You" by Failure. Both were on the radio around the same time and "Fantastic Planet" by Failure came out around the same time. Another similarity between this is the fact that “Stuck On You” is also the catchiest but the rest of the album is definitely better.

Both of these bands also put out several very different albums, all of which sound vastly different from the last. Upon listening to any of them you know it's the same band, but the skills they display in being able to shift gears and crank out iconic, creative albums is a trait that not many bands can pull off. Most bands will put out a strong album or two, then start re-creating the formula that made everyone love them. Not the case with either - they were not scared to totally change things up. "Downward is Heavenward" by Hum, while similar in sound in some ways, is much more complex structure-wise, a little less droney, with cryptic science based lyrics. Failure has released several albums besides Fantastic Planet, including "Magnified", "Comfort", and a few others, including a new album "The Heart is a Monster", all of which sound like Failure that everyone knows and loves but at the same time totally original, totally creative, and catchy enough to get stuck in your head.

In my eyes, this is where the similarity between these two bands ends. They share a heavy, groove and drone laden sound, but upon closer inspection the sounds are very different. Musically, Hum is more complex. Failure is pretty complex as well but tend to stick to more straight forward song structures. Lyrically, Failure tends to tackle real life issues (for the most part), and are a little more straightforward. Hum, on the other hand, has always written some absolutely bizarre lyrics. Below are samples of both to illustrate the point.

Failure - Nurse Who Loved Me (portion)



Say hello
To the rugs topography
It holds quite a lot of interest with your face down on it

Say hello
To the shrinking in your head
You can see it but you know it's there
So don't neglect it

I'm taking her home with me
All dressed in white
She's got everything I need
Pharmacy keys
She's falling hard for me
I can see it in her eyes
She acts just like a nurse
With all the other guys

Say hello
To all the apples on the ground
They were once in your eyes but you sneezed them out while sleeping

Say hello
To everything you've left behind
It's even more a part of your life now that you can't touch it

I'm taking her home with me
All dressed in white
She's got everything I need
Some pills in a little cup
She's falling hard for me
I can see it in her eyes
She acts just like a nurse
With all the other guys

She's got everything I need
Pharmacy keys
She acts just like a nurse
With all the other guys

Say hello
To the rugs topography...

Hum - The Scientists (portion)



Electrified and lit up by an outline of herself
Smiling now as only she can be.
She said I made some new connections to astound them all
In ways we've never dreamed about

Her lovely hand is glowing from the light inside itself
From soaking in the esters stacked for miles on a single shelf
Holding my eyes still so she can see
If all the superundercover custom hybrids got to me

It's too much
You're too late
I want to see it all again
She says eep this benzene ring around your finger

And think of me when everything you wanted starts to end
And I saw living clusters form in pools beneath her feet
Invertebrates that only she can see
And I said what on earth are all these ampuls for

She says exactly, we're not gunna wait around here anymore
Systems back down slow, watch the dust cloud resend
And I will keep you. I will keep you till the end
Set your head down low, watch my ears ring

I will take care of you. I will take care of everything
Systems back down slow, watch the dust cloud resend
And I will keep you. I will keep you till the end
Set your head down low, watch my ears ring

I will take care of you. I will take care of everything
It's too much
You're too late
I piloted my distance to the ground

And I think I see myself again through a pinhole
But the pinhole captures all of you
And the pinhole captures all of you
It's too much

You're too late

Similar in the fact that their lyrics are both very original and creative, different in structure and prose, as well as vocal delivery. It's probably selling both bands short to just mention a few songs, do some general comparisons and try to sum up careers and albums that are all so amazing. They both have rich, full discographies and there is rarely a song by either that I haven't enjoyed. They have influenced many bands since their inception, but they were the originators of this style, and no one will ever top either of these bands, in my eyes. Some notable bands that borrow elements of this style are Cave In, Arctic Sleep, Basement, Anakin, Blush, Junius and many others, and Hum even had a tribute album with covers of their songs, it's pretty decent.

I'll close this one out before it just turns into me gushing about two of my favorite bands, you honestly cannot lose with either of these, regardless of any perceived differences or similarities. I am just happy that after long hiatuses they both seem to be back, Failure released "The Heart is a Monster" in 2015, and Hum are reportedly working on new material, and I will be clamoring for an advance copy to review personally.

If you have never heard either of these bands, check out the videos below.







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Comments
I have no legs!
3 Posts
117/M/
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In sha'Allah
37,171 Posts
30/M/PA
edit: nevermind
vanilla gorilla
211,123 Posts
37/M/PA
edit:fine

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