Album Reviewed by Jake Kresovich
Humming House, a five-piece band lead by Justin Wade Tam and originally from Nashville, TN, released their self-titled debut album Humming House in January 2012. Their musical style draws from many different genres, including bluegrass, folk and Americana, and their songs range from upbeat and energy-packed to drawn out and exhausted. After the album was released, talk of the band spread rapidly. Humming House was featured on NPR’s ‘Live in Studio C’. They also appeared on television in the FX show, “Justified” as well as MTV’s “World of Jenks.” Currently they are touring in the United States.
The album was recorded with the help of Vance Powell, who previously worked with The White Stripes and Buddy Guy, and Mitch Dane, who previously worked with Jars of Clay. Collectively they created an album that paints a picture of the American landscape. The band’s single “Cold Chicago” hits the ground running from the first note. The song focuses on the band’s travels throughout the country, from Missouri, California, Seattle and Nashville, but emphasizes their desire to be blown “back to the banks of Chicago” where things feel right.
Later, the song, “Gasoline” sounds another tone. The song is down-trodden and evokes fatigue. Gasoline begins with the lyrics “Everyone’s had their icebergs slowly melt away/ Nursing bottles of vodka just to swallow the wake,” setting a mood of exhaustion and helplessness. The song’s refrain “Gasoline I need some gasoline/ Stuck on the side of the road/ Gasoline I need some gasoline/ To burn my way back home” offers broken down listeners a beleaguered solution; only more gasoline will help us continue down the path that likely leads nowhere. In saying this, the band asks audiences to weigh the negative consequences of apathy in our lives.
Humming House concludes with the uplifting and potentially inspiring song “Young Enough to Try.” Here Wade Tam contemplates whether he is old enough “to leave all this synergy and drive down a different dream” or if he is old enough “to let it all slip by…” Both options seem to carry their own significance in the singer’s mind. This question isn’t unanswered outright, but the buoyant tone of the song hints at the triumph of a proactive personality. “Wonderin’ if I’m young enough to try…” Wade Tam’s voice repeats and fades as the song draws to a close, reminding listeners that not all of life’s questions have an immediate answer.
Humming House is a thought invoking and well-rounded album aimed at individuals who appreciate an eclectic style. The changing tones and melodies depict the diversity of America and prompt many different moods. A terrific album, the band is even more impressive seen live. On stage, another layer of energy transforms their sound with the power to sweep crowds off their feet. Don’t miss a fantastic show. As previously mentioned, Humming House is currently touring. With a full tank of gas and a growing following, it doesn’t look like they will slow down anytime soon!
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