Hum: Matt Talbott (guitar, vocals); Tim Lash (guitar); Jeff Dimpsey (bass); Bryan St. Pere (drums).
Engineers: Keith Cleversley (tracks 1-4, 6-9); Adam Schmitt (track 5).
Recorded at Playground, Chicago, Illinois and Pachyderm Studios, Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
All songs written by Hum.
Hum's sound is a tasteful musical hybrid of the era's most aggressive guitar textures--the shimmering heaviness of My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver, and the detached deadpan of Dinosaur Jr. and Smashing Pumpkins. And though Hum's tough guitar knots clench and clamor, the songwriting adds a rare sensitivity that contrasts the six-string muscle.
"And so I give myself away/to everybody every day," is the declaration on "Suicidal Machine," an aching mix of hushed guitar and distant snare drums. "And so I give myself to you/and you need it more than I do...with just a whisper/I'm lonelier than God." Hum's vulnerability and intelligence shines through the slamming riffs and aggressive rhythm section. The guitar in "The Very Old Man" sounds more like a banjo, and the acoustic break of "The Pod" brings an eerie intimacy to the song's female character who "begs me to pick from a hundred ways to feel no pain..."
YOU'D PREFER AN ASTRONAUT is a look into a wounded yet insightful era of pop where the dissatisfaction is on the sleeve, but the reaction is from the heart.
After stirring up a substantial buzz in the indie, art rock, and hardcore undergrounds with the angular, excellent ELECTRA 2000, Hum stepped up to the majors in 1995 with YOU'D PREFER AN ASTRONAUT. While the album contains more hooks, most notably the gargantuan guitar riff of "Stars," a sizable modern rock hit, it loses none of the intricately interlaced rhythms, moodiness, and overlapping, inflamed guitars that made its predecessor such a find. From the perpetual drone of "The Pod" to the hypnotic melancholia of "Suicide Machine" to the borderline-Baroque balladry of "The Very Old Man," Hum create an elegant form of chaos and ASTRONAUT is one of the more beguiling slices of '90s angst rock.
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Pop