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Sanguine Hum - Diving Bell CD (album) cover

DIVING BELL

Sanguine Hum

Neo-Prog


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Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Psych/Space Team & Band Submissions
4 stars SANGUINE HUM are Antique Seeking Nuns!? In Germany we would say 'jein' (ja und nein) - yes and no! On one side ... well it's the same line-up exactly ... and distribution of roles, at least when speaking of the instruments. However - the Nuns' compositions are generally based on early ideas by Joff Winks (guitars, vocals) and Matt Baber (keyboards) who musically collaborate since their schooldays. This time though the complete band, also comprising drummer Paul Mallyon and Brad Waissman (bass), are responsible for song-writing and production. And they are drifting away from the canterbury origin, stylistically make progress, clearly widen the scope.

So in order to manifest the transition, the first official band release 'Plays The Nuns - Live 2009' consequently featured 'old' stuff, played on a stage. What ever the reason is for the change of name ... the Nuns are SANGUINE HUM now since 2009 - basta! What remains are significant elements with recognition value, speaking of Joff Winks' remarkable voice for example or the perfected interaction in general. Yes, what they even have improved here and there ... I really dig the charming melodies, the cosy atmosphere they implement on 'Diving Bell'. This includes excellent musicianship, guaranteed once again.

If you like ... just call me an enthusiastic overreacting fanboy when it comes to this fellows, never mind. Please do yourself a favour and reserve enough time in order to let it take effect. They kindly sent me a pre CD-R - which means, I already had time to get in for some weeks. During the first round I was a bit disappointed in light of compositions which sounded more tending to mainstream music in some way - superficially though. It only took time to assimilate the band's new spirit indeed. And so I finally agree with Matt, who promised that 'although if anything this album is more complicated than the Nuns stuff'.

Now, necessarily getting into the songs, they immediately appear heavier edged than ever on the opener No More Than We Deserve - that said with more of a proper rock feel. Straight to the point - the rhythm fraction has a big share. This is lush due to multiple guitar dominance, provided with differing time signatures, which makes it really entertaining. The song swifts to a spacey flow and perfectly blends into the follower The Ladder - turning back to the canterbury infected times a bit - the electric piano is perfectly utilized here. Dark Ages starts relatively innocent but then gradually evolves to a fantastic arrangement where the groovy instrumental Coast Of Nebraska offers rather psychedelic coloured guitars.

Nothing Between Us is such a lovely ballad with acoustic guitar, as for my impression focussed on the vocals - so sweet! Concerning some decent synth patterns I'm inclined to claim this is caused by a theremin. At the latest with the title track everything gets room for development. They are alternating between atmospheric tinged and groovy neo prog parts - the sensitive keyboard input attracts attention including sparkling Rhodes piano ... and another spacey downfall appears towards the end.

I'm completely overwhelmed with emotion! A fantastic production which comes with a vinyl length, but does not contain any filler, nor any minute which is needless. This album surely deserves attention - 'Diving Bell' should join every sophisticated prog music collection. As far as I'm concerned ... the songs cause cheerfulness, offer so much positive energy, warm my heart - even after a long time, can't find other words right now. Essential, yes - a masterpiece? Probably - time will tell. Finally ... to come to an end for the moment ... my hope is to get the chance to see them playing live someday. Preferably as soon as possible ...

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Send comments to Rivertree (BETA) | Report this review (#352537)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars SANGUINE HUM are in fact the same band who used to go under the name ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS. Anyone who has had the pleasure to listen to any of their three EPs will want to check out "Diving Bell". The NUNS three EPS were a Canterbury flavoured delight filled with humour and great sounding melodies.This new project seems more serious and more rocking and yet I get the same pleasure from the music.These guys are ultra talented. I mean they use complex and odd time signatures in such a melodic way that unless your really listening you would miss it.The vocals are excellent and it's the kind of cd that you look forward to putting on, like visiting an old friend. I want to thank Uwe who has been an enthusiastic supporter of this group because it's great to talk to someone who is just as into them as I am.

"No More Than We Deserve" is such an amazing sounding track, this could be a single.The vocals really remind me of the guy from the American band 3. I like when it gets heavier and the vocals get more passionate each time. Keys come in later. "The Ladder" is more laid back and we get some keyboards after 2 minutes. It does turn intense late before it ends in a spacey manner. "Dark Ages" opens with acoustic guitar as bass, it eventually settles back and the vocals return. "Coast Of Nebraska" is the only instrumental and the longest track on here. Drums and fat bass lines early.The tempo will shift often. Some spacey organ before 3 minutes then it turns intense after 5 1/2 minutes.

"The Trial" has a great sounding instrumental section starting around 2 1/2 minutes that I like much better than the vocal parts on this one.The guitar starts to solo before 4 1/2 minutes. Nice. "Nothing Between Us" has a mid-paced heavy beat as the melody swirls throughout.Vocals in this one too. Cool song. "Diving Bell" opens with keyboards and light drums then it kicks in fuller before a minute.Vocals follow and it gets heavier 4 1/2 minutes in. "There's No Hum" is fairly laid back but it's fuller a minute in as contrasts continue. I like the more powerful sections on this one.

Easily 4 stars and once this gets out there's going to be quite the buzz among music fans.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#387125)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Not overtly progressive in the traditional sense. No Genesis, Yes or ELP in sight. Maybe a little '80s King Crimson, later Talk Talk and some refined Canterbury jazz tones. Throw in some Umphrey's McGee and the American band 3rDegree and you'll get a picture of what Sanguine Hum might sound like. Honestly, I can't really peg these guys into a box. Sort of like trying to define Max Webster. The great thing about this album is that it sounds modern but never dated. I could picture myself listening to this in 20 years or so and it would sound immediate. Very organic sounding. A great instrumental with "Coast Of Nebraska". Rhodes throughout many of the tracks and non-traditional. Just some fine written songs with effortless playing and no wankery. Very tasteful. Sanguine Hum is great at painting mind pictures. I can't stop listening to this album. Worth the price alone for the track "Nothing Between Us". A great slab of prog which could actually make waves on adult alternative radio if it weren't 6 minutes +. This is a great album to listen to while driving the back roads or during a spring rain (March - May). I would actually give this a personal 5 star rating, but it's going to have to be a 4 because it would only appeal to the secular prog listener and not the provincial. The "neo-prog" label is also VERY misleading.

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Send comments to Gooner (BETA) | Report this review (#934341)
Posted Saturday, March 23, 2013 | Review Permalink

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