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SANGUINE HUM

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Sanguine Hum picture
Sanguine Hum biography
Founded in Oxfordshire, UK in 2008

SANGUINE HUM emerged from the Oxford based band Antique Seeking Nuns, which already recorded three highly acclaimed EP's. Eventually Matt Baber (keyboards), drummer Paul Mallyon, Joff Winks (guitar, vocals) and bassist Brad Waissman decided to move forward to new horizons. Originally more focussed on canterbury styled songs they began to widen their scope while including more rocking elements.

The band started to record basic tracks for their debut during May and November 2008. The change finally revealed when the EP 'Plays The Nuns - Live 2009' was released on Troppers For Sound, consisting of three 'old' recordings played live. SANGUINE HUM's ambitious first album 'Diving Bell' saw the the light of day at the end of 2010, provided with profound song-writing, haunting melodies and excellent musicianship.

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SANGUINE HUM discography


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SANGUINE HUM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 57 ratings
Diving Bell
2010
3.57 | 68 ratings
The Weight Of The World
2013
3.79 | 108 ratings
Now We Have Light
2015
3.81 | 45 ratings
Now We Have Power
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Trace of Memory
2020

SANGUINE HUM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 7 ratings
Live In America
2012

SANGUINE HUM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SANGUINE HUM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.78 | 26 ratings
What We Ask Is Where We Begin, The Songs For Days Sessions
2016
5.00 | 2 ratings
Archive Vol. 1
2020

SANGUINE HUM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.23 | 4 ratings
Plays The Nuns - Live 2009
2009

SANGUINE HUM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 What We Ask Is Where We Begin, The Songs For Days Sessions by SANGUINE HUM album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2016
3.78 | 26 ratings

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What We Ask Is Where We Begin, The Songs For Days Sessions
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Archive Vol. 1 by SANGUINE HUM album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
5.00 | 2 ratings

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Archive Vol. 1
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Sanguine Hum is one of those bands that are for the large part, ignored by not only the general public, but also by the people that should be paying attention to them. For those that don't know who they are, they are from Oxford, UK and began as a collaboration of friends that met at school and had a woefully short stint as an excellent band known as 'Antique Seeking Nuns', a band that released 3 amazing EP's, and then called it quits. Fortunately, Joff Winks and Matt Baber got back together when people started noticing their music as their first incarnation, and re-formed the quartet by adding a more rock element to their Canterbury Prog style under the moniker 'Sanguine Hum'. Their music is quite quirky, and when you listen to it, you can pick up hints of 'Tortoise' (but with more emphasis on melody), Frank Zappa and 'The Flaming Lips'. Add those bands together, and you will understand what to expect with their high quality sound, bright, cheery and even humorous music that is very satisfying.

It's not very often that I find an album full of archival recordings that I would consider essential, but this collection called 'Archive ' Vol. 1' released in May of 2020 is one of those that I can't help but give a glowing 5-star rating for. This album is mostly made up of demos, but they are all so well recorded that, if you didn't know, you would think they were originals. Fans of both 'Antique Seeking Nuns' and 'Sanguine Hum' will recognize most of these tracks, and will also be excited as to how well these alternative versions sound. But the great thing about this collection is, for the newcomer to their music, this is a perfect sampling of their music.

Most of the tracks are instrumental, except for 3 of them; an original demo of 'Tonic for the Snoring' with Joff and Matt playing all of the parts, an excellent acoustic version of 'Cartoon Friends', and a stripped down version of 'Chat Show' with only Joff on guitar and vocals and Matt on keys. Seven out of the twelve tracks are performed by the full band, a few of them that you are used to hearing with vocals are instrumental only, yet still hold up very well. There is also 'Marimba Jam' which comes from a jam session in 2008 and not based on any previously released track. There is a nice solo version (Joff only on acoustic guitar) of 'Apple Pie'. On top of this, there are 2 'Antique Seeking Nuns' demos that sound just as great as the originals, but with a different feel, both 'The Foulness! The Stench!' in an original demo with everything performed by Matt, and 'Double Egg', a classic favorite done as an instrumental by the quartet, the very first session they played. It's hard to believe they sounded so great even then, but that was what got the attention of what are so many fans now.

This is an excellent 'front door' to the band's music, but also something that the big-time fans would be happy to own. As a fan myself, I find this album quite essential with an excellent selection of songs that are hard to believe are demos. This collection will give the listener a great variety of the band's music and none of it lacks in any way. I highly recommend this to beginners and die-hard fans alike. The great thing is, this is title 'Volume 1' so apparently there is more of this out there. If future volumes have music as great as this on it, we are all in for a treasure trove of hidden gems from the band.

 Now We Have Power by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.81 | 45 ratings

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Now We Have Power
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Probably I must warn you. Albums provided by SANGUINE HUM, and in the same way the forerunner outfit Antique Seeking Nuns, mostly left an enthusiastic impression on me. This one is the sequel to their acclaimed double CD 'Now We Have Light', that was released back in 2015. Undoubtedly they have managed to consolidate their own unique sound over the years, which in general includes influences taken from the neo prog, art rock and canterbury genres. Joff Winks is a prolific guitarist and on top of it has got a very sensitive voice. Matt Baber on the other hand marks the driving force on all sorts of keyboard/synth stuff you may imagine. Brad Waissman then impresses on bass and chapman stick as usual, where finally Paul Mallyon is back again on the drums here surprisingly. Not listed as a regular crew member though.

The band now have signed with the Bad Elephant Music label, a good move it seems when longing for a more established recognition and reputation. Although their music often enough is charming, deriving from mellow meadows so to say, this is nothing for background listening duties. Switch away from any multitasking attitude, concentrate on this, and reserve time for more than one or two rounds. Both opening View parts are showing a melancholic vibe including really heart-wrenching polyphonic vocals. Melting ice! The fantastic A Tall Tale is standing for a heavier orientation, though overall the album is presented with less rocking attitude this time. Nevertheless they are able to keep up their quality standards 'till the last minute, careful use of a trumpet inclusively. Another winner in 2018.

 Now We Have Power by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.81 | 45 ratings

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Now We Have Power
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Sanguine Hum began as a musical collaboration in the early 2000's between school friends Joff Winks (vocals, guitar) and Matt Baber (piano, keyboards, guitar), who were both inspired by artists such as the Flaming Lips, Tortoise, Aphex Twin and Frank Zappa. Operating under three different monikers ? Joff Winks Band, Antique Seeking Nuns and Nunbient ? during which time Brad Waissman (bass, Chapman stick, double bass) and drummer Paul Mallyon joined the party - the band eventually settled on the name Sanguine Hum with the release of their first album, 'Diving Bell', in 2009. Paul left after that album, being replaced by Andrew Booker, but has returned as a guest in time for the sequel to 2015's acclaimed concept album 'Now We Have Light'. The story of Don continues through a surreal lyrical and musical landscape, as the band continue in their efforts to really sound like no-one else in the prog scene yet also being instantly accessible and interesting.

Steven Wilson has obviously been a major influence on the band, but less with his solo albums but more with Porcupine Tree and (especially) no-man, while there are times when Tangerine Dream come into play, as well as Big Big Train. Interestingly, they are classified by ProgArchives as a neo-prog outfit, but if I was going to shoehorn them into a sub-genre then I would move more towards Crossover as there are strong pop elements in their music. It is such an easy album to listen to, while never falling into the trap of being easy listening, and there is a great deal going on from all involved, even though it may come across as simplistic at times. A trumpet is brought in on a couple of numbers, to add additional depth, and overall this is a sheer delight from beginning to end. There is a high use of piano underpinning the sound, while guitar is rocked sparingly and the ear is drawn towards the vocals at all times. An album of real songs, this is both fresh and refreshing, something to relax with at the end of the day.

 Now We Have Light by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.79 | 108 ratings

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Now We Have Light
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Only days before ordering this album, I was thinking about the four humours that were named after bodily fluids. What were they now? Sanguine from blood. Phlegmatic from phlegm. And what else? Hydrophilic from water and pissed off from urine? No, that's not right. But as I thought, I recalled that there was a band called Sanguine Hum whose album review I had read a while back on PA. A few days later, I sat before the computer with Amazon UK open, seeing what Brexit had done for UK CD prices, and as I selected albums to possibly order, "Customers who bought this also bought" came up with Sanguine Hum. There was a new release, but the Cat Factory cover appealed to me more and the album got ordered.

"Now We Have Light. Part One of the Buttered Cat Conspiracy. (This text reserves the right to randomly mix past, present and future tenses!)" This album is a concept narrative, and the booklet that comes with the CD does not include lyrics to the songs but instead explains what is happening as each track plays out. This is a future, post- apocalyptic world where a circle of billionaires has created a circle around the wealthy and use windmills to blow away smog. People have what are known as Drastic Attics where stuff is stored because a decree states that nothing can ever be thrown away. The explanation in the booklet has a typical English bent toward humour and the story is told with understatement, irony, and of course a degree of sarcasm. Our protagonist, Don, discovers the perpetual energy theory is proven when a cat with butter on its back is tested to see which side will land on the floor and instead ends up suspended in the air and rotating. Don has by chance also discovered a blue print for such a device. What luck!

Well, the story goes on and the plot thickens as Don's blueprint is stolen and the government orders all felines to be rounded up. But let's look at the music.

What we have here is a very English approach to modern progressive rock, maybe. Much of the music is driven by keyboards: synthesizers and organ mostly. Guitar plays an important part, featured in acoustic, clean electric, and a little bit edgy distorted guitar as well. Bass and drums play their parts gracefully sidestepping mainstream demands for banality. It's really difficult for me to pin down an suitable comparison. I am reminded of Pure Reason Revolution but also Radio Head in a spot or two, here and there some Happy the Man lite, and well, who else? The band has a sense for laid back jazz in a more upbeat musical atmosphere than Gazpacho would deliver. And surely there are moments that revive some classic mid to late seventies prog/pop. The vocals are light and marked with very clear English enunciation. There are songs and there are instrumentals and the two approaches are coordinated and sequenced so that one never outstays the other significantly.

Though the first two tracks, "Desolation Song" and "Drastic Attic" give a good feel for the whole album, the more angular and rapidly descending electric guitar arpeggios of "Theft" or the grooving bass of "Cat Factory" or the mechanical "Cog" instrumental in the six-part "Spanning the Eternal Abyss" will stand apart without coming across as outside of the scope of the album's sound and atmosphere. The acoustic guitar instrumental "On Another Beach" (part four of "Spanning the Eternal Abyss") is also lovely.

Sanguine Hum seem to like to introduce a musical theme and then build on it, then drop it momentarily as they introduce a related but different theme, and then reprise the original and add more colour to it. Comparing this album to another planet, I'd say it has a variety of landscapes that includes mountains without many crags, plains with rolling hills, patches of rock gardens, wildflowers, and groves of trees, and a climate that is at times foggy or weird but mostly fairly pleasant and easy to enjoy.

Though few tracks as yet stand out for me, the overall impression I have is that this is a double album that can be easily enjoyed but is also easy to hear while thoughts are set free to wander outside of the music. Well composed and executed. Some ear-catching moments. Intentionally avoids being too punchy or complex.

Our story, by the way, ends up leaving us with a promised sequel. To be continued in "Now We Have Power".

 Now We Have Light by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.79 | 108 ratings

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Now We Have Light
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars This quartet still is hard to pigeonhole when trying to pin down a distinct music style respectively genre. Their predecessor 'Weight Of The World' from 2013 widely opened the door to the progressive new artrock field. 'Now We Have Light' yet comes as another progression - a concept outfit, comprised of material which has matured within the last ten years at least. Consequently the stylistical boundaries are more comprehensive then ever, obviously resulting from the member's shifting preferences and influences over the course of time.

Matt Baber (keybords), Joff Winks (guitar/vocals), Brad Waissman (bass) and drummer Andrew Booker are offering more than 80 thrilling minutes here, this separated on two discs featuring 15 tracks in total. Additionally a DVD is part of the box set released on Esoteric/Antenna, which supplies the obligatory making of and some outtakes. For me only Cat Factory had a reputation already at the very start, as this one has been part of several live sets before. A short instrumental which deserves a special praise from me while delivering a nice mellotron disposition and a terrific bass line.

There are some excerpts which definitely will have a place on my playlists for a long time - though preferably I recommend to examine the particular discs in one go. There's a really charming start given with the Desolation Song contribution. Chat Show is excellently pointing to their canterbury roots when they once were having eggs and baked beans for breakfast under the moniker ANTIQUE SEEKING NUNS. And then just take the time for attempting the impossible when Spanning The Eternal Blyss - it's worth it, not only because there are also intense crimsonesque and zappaesque moments to detect.

Where Shit! is coming from the electronic playground Out Of Mind provides a real masterpiece, Chat Show shows another jewel I can't get enough of. Bass and synthesizer are excellently complementing on Settle Down. Featuring Jim Hart on vibraphone regarding two songs, the album most heard in recent months. For me a wonderful experience again, a definitive cross section of all the stuff they have done before, and this without simply recompiling. Well, very probably it's inspiring to have some bubble trouble besides some double bubble trouble, you see? Thank you for that, fellas!

 Now We Have Light by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.79 | 108 ratings

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Now We Have Light
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by HarmonyDissonan

4 stars INTRICACY ABOUNDS SUBSTANTIALLY!

First I'd just like to say 'thank you' to everyone who has reviewed albums here on PA and led me to discover great music! As a matter of fact, I swear by the PA reviews, especially when I discover another cd that I have to have! Damn y'all! Please pardon my French! And to you French, please pardon my English!

In regards to this recording, I enjoy it immensely! I didn't 'get' it on the 1st spin, but after a couple I did 'get' it! Right now it holds the coveted, 'I can't take it out of my van's cd player' award! The word that I feel describes this album most appropriately is intricate. (and whether you might have noticed or not, that sentence did not end in an exclamation point!) (sorry). Even on the more aggressive moments of this album, intricacy is still whispered to me. Although aggressiveness is in the minority here-it's a more finessed, middle-of-the-road type of recorded music, if you will. In it's own way, it's very beautiful to me without being overtly mellow. Although I do like many a mellow cd which I discovered on PA also. Bastards. What, do you think I'm made of money or something?!

I am torn between giving this outstanding recording of luscious music 4 or 5 stars. I love it, but I can't quite bump it up to 5 stars. It's at least 4.5 though! So I'll give it a solid, highly recommended 4 stars! Thanks for reading, take care and enjoy Gods gift of music!

PS-Please be assured that my cursing was very much meant to be comical and I do not direct that to anyone at all on PA! (one last exclamation point!)

 Diving Bell by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.75 | 57 ratings

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Diving Bell
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by RaelWV

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.

 The Weight Of The World by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.57 | 68 ratings

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The Weight Of The World
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by RaelWV

4 stars In spite of what Foreigner says, it never really feels like the first time. There's just something about the spark of discovery that can't be replicated. That's true of music as much as it is of, well, other things.

When Sanguine Hum took the stage at ROSFest 2012 I hadn't heard note one from them. They only had one album out and I was perfectly willing to wait and see what they were all about in a live setting. That worked out well, as they completely blew me away. I went out and got a hold everything related to the band I could, from their album Diving Bell to a pair of EPs by a prior incarnation of the band called Antique Seeking Nuns. I even tracked down an electronic side project called Nunbient. I was musically smitten.

Then, this year, along came The Weight of the World. A new album! Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! Oh . . . hey, wait a minute. This isn't quite the same, is it? No, this time I've got some idea what to expect going in. The result, as it happened, was that the new album landed in my mind with a kind of depressing thunk. It wasn't bad, certainly, but wasn't brain rattlingly brilliant.

That was months ago.

Now, I'm pretty convinced that The Weight of the World is, in fact, brain rattlingly brilliant. It takes the style of Diving Bell, refines it even further and adds some neat extras (some imported from Nunbient, to my pleasant surprise).

Take "From the Ground Up," which opens the album with just a synthy beat and vocals, unlike anything from Diving Bell. Things get more "organic" once the whole band joins in (Matt Barber favors a lot of Rhodes piano, which is far from a bad thing) and the long, lilting vocal lines sit atop winding guitar and synth lines. Similar touches of electronica infuse "Cognoscenti" and the exponential spiraling of "Day of Release," as well. A couple other tracks, including the instrumental "In Code," conjure a Zappa-esque feel with some finely crafted tuned percussion work. All this leads to the epic title track, which wraps up everything in neat, if sprawling, package.

In the end, it's hard to pin down just what it is about Sanguine Hum that hits my musical sweet spot. Their music is dense, layered, and complex but doesn't come off as "complicated" just for the sake of it. In other words, the band doesn't scream "progressive rock," it's just as proggy as it wants to be. On the other hand, it's generally melodic and tuneful, but with a dark edge to it that doesn't exactly leave you walking down the street whistling. Antinque Seeking Nuns had a Canterbury-ish sense of humor that's lacking, or at least tempered by serious melancholy, in Sanguine Hum. Maybe that's it - that combination, leavened with a heavy dose of genuine Englishness, curdles into something I just can't resist. It doesn't sound like anything else out there, that's for certain.

Regardless, The Weight of the World lives up to its ambitions and is, if not the very best album of the year, certainly one of them. So, no, it's not like the first time. It's even better.

 Now We Have Light by SANGUINE HUM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.79 | 108 ratings

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Now We Have Light
Sanguine Hum Neo-Prog

Review by Tull Tales

5 stars For their third effort, Sanguine Hum give us a double disc concept album that is an amalgamation of all their previous incarnations, and much much more. It contains the wit and whimsy of Antique Seeking Nuns; the ambiance and atmosphere of Nunbient, the succinct song-craft of The Joff Winks Band; and the depth and complexity of Sanguine Hum.

They build from a humorous idea: that buttering the backs of cats could be a source of power! (Because we all know that cats always land on their feet, and buttered toast always lands butter side down.) But lurking beneath the silly exterior is a truly poignant study of the human condition.

The music is so listenable that you might not even notice how incredibly rich, nuanced, and complex it is. I thought their last album was great, but this one is amazing. If you have not heard this band before, you need to. If you have, get this record!

Thanks to rivertree for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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