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Humus - Wheel of Malarkey CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.82 | 4 ratings

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4 stars For me, it is always a pleasure to talk about Mexican bands, and this time I am more than happy for writing a review of a new Humus album, a band that has been in the progressive and psychedelic scene from the late 80s / early 90s and though sadly they have not received the deserved love and recognition and share a low profile, their music has reached several places even outside Mexico, with people who have appreciated Humus since their first steps, or people who have been digging them in the last few years. I belong to the second group, but I am proud to know this country has talented musicians like Jorge Beltrán (who I dedicate this review) who don't stop and keep composing great music.

This new album entitled "Wheel of Malarkey" consists on Beltrán on guitars, his long-time musical partner Victor Basurto on bass, and three drummers playing in different songs (not the three at the same time), they are Charly López, Jeff Beltrán and John Westminster. The album is divided in four sides (like a double LP) and it features 18 tracks that make a total time of 71 minutes of great music with the inherent psychedelic and stoner sound they always bring, but with other Canterbury-esque and jazzy tunes. And though it is a long album, it is worth it, be lieve me.

It opens with "Blatant / Mouge", which has a soft electronic start, it does not have that explosive stoner guitar Humus use to share, but it flows and progresses little by little. After a minute drums enter and a kind of friendly sound prevails for one minute more, until it vanishes and now that stoner sound appears. Yeah, the explosion that make me shake the head; the endless guitar riffs are purely psychedelic, the sound has an obvious reminiscence of 70s psych rock, but I know this is Humus' spirit. The next track is "Ultimate Help Resurgence" which is the first out of 2 over 10-minutes track. The sound of the bass is easily perceived, it is strong and the perfect partner of that psych-stoner guitar. The song has several changes, as you may expect from a track of this length, changes in mood and tempo, great.

"We" is a short track but a curious one. I felt enchanted by its friendly rhythm which is like electronic rock whose intensity increases until producing an explosive guitar solo, though actually there are like endless mini solos haha. "Bait for the Free" is an even shorter piece which has an organ at the beginning, producing a somber atmosphere that will be complemented by bass, drums and guitars. "Flush Down the Mewk in June" is like the second part of Bait, I mean, the sound is alike and though the rhythm is slower, they fit good together. Now I would not dare saying it has clear blues hints, but one can feel them living there. It has again several inner changes, so in moments it is fast and stoner, in others slower and jazzy.

"The Mind has a Mind of its own" introduces an organ in the beginning; the dark and somber atmosphere is back here. Then bass and drums join and a scary tune starts, it could be used for a horror film or a videogame. After a minute the guitar appears and though the style remains the same, it brings a different taste, not that somber. But wait, it vanishes and again the scary music begins. Cool! "Pouy Trey Koll" offers again some jazzy hints, contrasting with the previous song (actually the album does not follow a clear path, but this time it does not harm it, on the other hand, it makes it more interesting). "Rat Bat Blue Variations" is the shortest track of the album, and it might work as a one minute interlude; it is an electronic-like piece with a friendly sound.

"Losless Faster" begins with a beautiful mellotron sound, creating a charming atmosphere where one can close the eyes, feel relaxed and comfortable, the guitar sound is also different here. It leads to the longest track which is entitled "Fulham". This one has a calmer melody; it creates a nice interaction between electronic sounds and drums, the result is a canterbury-like piece that brings me again back to the 70s. The song nicely flows, and though there are some moments where it sounds repetitive and maybe not that entertaining, it is worthwhile the wait, because after 7 minutes a new rhythm begins and again flows until the very end. Nice track, not the one that defines Humus, but a great one for those who love playing with electronics.

"Float" returns to the sound we are used to, that stoner guitar, that heavy bass and the energy of the drums put us again in the Humus realm. "Fluctuation" is a heavier piece whose drums might be closer to a rock metal sound, while guitars plays with that inherent 70s feeling that reminds me of Steve Hillage. "Bashes" starts all of a sudden, but this one has piano included which produces an elegant jazzy sound. "Junior Flake" has electronic noises in the beginning, like some space rorck that will be immediately morphed into psych stoner rock. You will shake your head with this one, definitely.

"Events" is a short piece that brings a totally different sound, here one can listen to a RIO-oriented track that reminds me of Henry Cow. "Cram" is a wonderful piece, with a rhythm that will lead you to joy and entertainment, and though the sound might be a bit heavy, it is friendly to the ears, I like it. "11 12 13" is a great rock piece that sounds like a jam, so imagine the fun one have while listening to it (and the fun I am sure they had while recording it). Finally, "Joy" which is another short piece that have the great stoner and creative sound of Humus, a nice track to finish this excellent return of Mexican rockers.

Well, what more can I say? You better get the album and listen to it soon, you will have a good time, I assure you.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |


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