Humbug is Ben Rotherham (Vocals / Guitar), Matt Dominey (Drums), Dale Holt (Bass) and Ferghal Swanwick (Keys) an alt-rock band from Southend-on-Sea in England.
I could provide a list of superlatives to introduce Humbug, but it wouldn’t help much to explain why this is a band you need to get your ears wrapped around. Despite shifts in members and instruments in their brief existence, instantly on play the listener can hear something of undefinable quality and resonance.
The richly emotional vocal is a starting point on which the focus can remain, but to do so would be to miss the scintillating bass with its rich reflectivity and to keep the mind on that would be to avoid the pulsating percussion which weaves in and out of tracks. So perhaps it is the guitar which gives the music the feeling of walking barefoot on softly layered peat, if not that it must be the harmonic echoes of the keys with the lustrous textures. In reality it is none of those – it is the whole – which is far more than any one individual element adds to the sum of Humbug.
Humbug is a delightful out-fit where the jigsaw puzzle of constituent parts fall into place on opening the box; With music that takes over the mind, soul and body. There is such little to hear, this is all that saddens me and I look forward to discovering more from the quartet with much to add to the world of music.
Given their shaky line-up origins, I hope they are able to settle on this set-up for some considerable time to come. Best for the future – Humbug.
Even if it all falls apart tomorrow, already, Humbug sit in the pantheon of the inspirational and like all iconic bands – the first pieces of music are the testament by which subsequent pieces can be judged not hidden away in the ‘we were learning’. If not given exposure now, expect this quartet with their few songs thus far will be identified, by those who follow in time to come, as ‘influenced by’.
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