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Sanguine Hum - What We Ask Is Where We Begin, The Songs For Days Sessions CD (album) cover


Sanguine Hum



3.79 | 28 ratings

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4 stars -- First review -- These British musicians seem to have had a bit restless and unsettled mind, when it comes to band names. First they recorded three EP's of very Canterbyry-ish music as ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS, then as Joff Winks Band they released an online album titled Songs for Days in 2007, before they became SANGUINE HUM.

This is a 2-cd set featuring the original master of the mentioned album (previously unreleased on a physical format) on cd 1, plus remixed singles, unreleased pieces and session outtakes on cd 2. The booklet contains a lot of background and even a track- by-track commentary. So, anyone with an interest for either ASN or Sanguine Hum, or for both as he/she really should have, will find this set most useful and delightful, especially if the Joff Winks Band album isn't yet familiar.

According to the name-changing band, these recordings from 2002---2007 represent the period "where we were learning how to balance songwriting with our more wilfully 'progressive' tendencies". To sum up their stylistic evolution I'll cite the foreword of Ian Fairholm: "Whilst the Nuns had more comedic elements and a stronger Zappa influence, Songs for Days was less weird, a bit more commercially accessible, and with an even stronger melodic sensibility and more life affirming songs."

My first acquaintance to the music of Joff Winks (guitars, vocals) and Matt Baber (keyboards) was the SH album Now We Have Light (2015), which didn't make a strong impression on me. Rather boring neo-prog with an idiotic scifi concept, I thought (and upon returning to that album I found I was originally too blind to the music's nuances). Last winter I found Antique Seeking Nuns and was more impressed. Listening to this set it's easy to agree with Fairholm that there indeed are more similarities than differences between ASN and SH. And with all the supplementary texts one can deepen the listening experience further.

I'm not taking a detailed approach here, as fruitful it might be, instead I'll just give my overall impression on the music without dealing various sections separately. It has a good deal of the Canterburian carefree charm of ASN and the finely produced, neo-ish modern prog attitude of Sanguine Hum's later works. There are both tight songs with a pop sensibility and nice instrumentals. As a compilation of this and that, ie. of previously unreleased material and outtakes, this 131- minute set feels quite coherent and has a good sound quality all the way. A must for fans, and a fairly fine addition to a more casual listener too. The excellent Italian band HOMUNCULUS RES sounds a bit like this, up to the vocals.

Matti | 4/5 |


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