Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Sanguine Hum - Diving Bell CD (album) cover


Sanguine Hum


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
PSIKE 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 ...

Report this review (#352537)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
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.

Report this review (#387125)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.
Report this review (#934341)
Posted Saturday, March 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Sanguine Hum were born in Oxford, UK out of the ashes of Antique Seeking Nuns, well, not actually out of the ashes, as the band's line-up is exactly the same with the former group (Matt Baber on keyboards, Joff Winks on vocals/guitar, Paul Mallyon on drums and Brad Waissman on bass), so consider them as an extension of the gone Canterbury-styled group.Sanguine Hum was seen as an evolution of Antique Seeking Nuns's sound and after a short time-out the members gathered again to rehearse on new pieces.Some of them though date back from the later days of Antique Seeking Nuns and with the addition of new pieces the album ''Divine bell'' was released in a limited number copies at the fall of 2010 on the band's own Troopers for Sound label.Esoteric Antenna took care of a more proper release two years later.

If the addition of strong, modern Pop elements can be considered as an evolution, then Sanguine Hum certainly differ a bit from the formation of ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS.The members had already a tendency towards artistic and sophisticated music with Post Rock touches, but on ''Divine bell'' this style was somewhat expanded with the addition of Art Pop and Alternative Rock elements.They still deep into Canterbury atmospheres with the electric piano on occasional display, but they had moved into a more SYD ARTHUR-like vein, where Psych Pop and contemporary Rock appear to be basic components of their compositions.Good thing they kept playing in a fine composing level, they still have left room for some instrumental flexibility, although in a more modern vein with definite Post Rock vibes and the sentimental and almost melodramatic voices and choruses are memorable.So, expect an album, which is now driven by some Pop sensibilities, atmospheric instrumental passages and balanced rhythm and lead guitars, trying to keep the old fashion of the Cantebury scene.Guitars appear to be quite crunchy and even pretty heavy at moments with a slight ANEKDOTEN atonality and the throbbing bass and propelled drums are also driving factors.The keyboards play a secondary role, which still appears to be a vital element in the music, even if offered in a smooth style, but delivering an overall richer sound and the needed dreamy edge.The result is always well-crafted and even pretty emotional at moments with a conbination of heavy and lighter textures.

Slightly more poppy version of ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS, quite paradox, because Sanguine Hum sound a tad heavier compared to the demised band, but the structures are generally more accesible and straight.Quite personal and attractive music.Recommended.

Report this review (#1300259)
Posted Monday, November 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars As I said in my ROSFest review a few weeks ago, Sanguine Hum was one of the band I went into the festival not really knowing anything about. Seriously, I had not heard note one from this band. All I knew was that their sole release, Diving Bell, had come out in 2010 and had just been rereleased by the new Antenna imprint from Esoteric Records.

My general policy, when it comes to festival bands, is that if they have only one album out I wait until after I've seen them perform to pick it up. For whatever reason, my brain has concluded that buying a band's only album ahead of time and being disappointed is infinitely worse than buying one album out of ten but being equally disappointed. It's music, I don't expect it to make sense to anyone but me (and, at times, that's a stretch).

That proved more difficult at ROSFest than I anticipated. I had seen Diving Bell at a couple of vendor tables during the weekend, but they slowly disappeared as the weekend went on. By the time the band finished it's set on Sunday morning, everybody was sold out. But not to worry! Although the band explained that they had trouble getting their merchandise across the Atlantic to Gettysburg, they did have about 40 or so CDs with them. To the post-set meet and greet I went, then, with high hopes.

As it happened, the CDs the band had with them weren't Diving Bell, but a pair of EPs from their prior incarnation, Antique Seeking Nuns (more of them later). I picked those up, anyway, but walked away feeling like an excellent album from a great new band had slipped out through my fingers over the weekend. So I did what any semi-modern man would do in such a situation.

I ordered it off Amazon.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I really liked their set at ROSFest. Thankfully, their studio output doesn't disappoint, either. I have a hard time pinning down just what it is about this band that I like so much. Part of it, certainly, is the continuous sonic presence of Rhodes electric piano in their tunes. It's one thing to hear it pop up here and there on a record. It's quite another for it to be a defining tonality, which is something you generally see in the jazzier corners of the prog world (as I write this, I'm listening to the late and very much missed Alberto Bonomi of D.F.A. work it in that style).

That aspect makes more sense in light of the band's work as Antique Seeking Nuns, which has a lot of Canterbury influence. Indeed, it's almost neo-Canterbury in spots. As Sanguine Hum, the band's sound has shifted somewhat to be more "rock" and incorporate some of the style of modern quasi-prog (think Radiohead or the like), but that Canterbury undercurrent is there all the same.

Long ago in an Email conversation with Robert Pashman of 3rDegree (new album due this fall!), he explained how one of the problems they had in finding an audience was that the band wasn't "weird" enough for prog fans, but was too weird for the mainstream. I get the same vibe with Sanguine Hum (although they do it with different influences than 3rDegree). On the one hand, there's nothing going on here that should scare away the music loving masses ? this ain't Magma or Present, after all. On the other, there's just enough oddness infused in the music that folks interested only in simple background music will find it too dense and, yes, "weird."

But questions of genre classification and prog purity are pointless ? this is an excellent album from an interesting and talented group of guys.

Report this review (#1453702)
Posted Sunday, August 16, 2015 | Review Permalink

SANGUINE HUM Diving Bell ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of SANGUINE HUM Diving Bell

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives