Review: Self-Titled by Hums + Haws

The new self-titled album from Hums + Haws (2012, 1980 Records) plays like a sonic embrace of all things sun-bleached and overlooked. Matt Kordonowy, sole member and polyinstrumentalist of H+H, deftly guides us through his intimate Museum of Forgotten Things and he carefully tows the line of nostalgia without slipping into contrivance.

Kordonowy engineered the album on a Tascam 58 1/2″ 8-track reel-to-reel setup, which gives a vintage sound texture that hearkens back to the old days of basement psychedelia. However, Kardonowy’s songwriting is informed by a smart, pop sensibility that allows him to play with experimental soundscapes without devolving into lo-fi obtuseness. H+H is accessible for lo-fi neophytes, but realized enough to impress aficionados of the genre just as well.

Aside from the breezier tracks, like ‘Honey-Day Parade’ and ‘Bottom of the Sky,’ H+H is also pumping some raw, garage-rock blood through its veins. Tracks like ‘Gossamer’ and ‘I Ate This’ are both energetic and discombobulating, and there’s enough reverb on some of the voiceovers to give a horse wings.

1980 Records picked a winner with this one. We’re very excited to see what Kordonowy and H+H have planned for the future, even if all it manages to do is take us farther into the past.

Click here to download the full-length album for free from 1980 Records.

Also, as said by 1980: “Check out Matt’s other musical projects including and not limited to House Sounds and his recent additions to one of our favorite local Chicago bands, The Clams.

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