Sanguine Hum – Now We Have Light

[Stream samples of the album on Amazon or iTunes.]

Sanguine Hum is a known name in the indie prog/neo-prog community, and with reason. They’ve released consistently good, mellow prog with an ambient vibe to it, but Now We Have Light is on another level. A just over 80 minutes conceptual double album of, arguably, their best material to date.

For the uninitiated here, “neo-prog” is a term that labels indie bands that are oriented towards prog rather than pop or folk. It’s mellow stuff, with electronics and chimes, but with odd-time signatures, long and intricate song structures, and conceptual songs or albums. The vocals here are soft and melodic, but aren’t really at the forefront. There’s a lot of instrumental songs and passages in this album! The focus is more on the overall atmosphere of the music rather than on any musician in particular. Of course, some parts are more straightforward and less prog than others, but the contrary is also true.

The musicianship is adequate for their goal. There’s no overly complex riff or jaw-dropping guitar solo, but the timings and structures are what’s complicated and fun to decipher for the listener. There are 17/8’s and confusing polyrhythms on the album, but it’s so well-done and melodically tight that most won’t even notice. You really have to concentrate on the playing and the different instruments in order to get what’s happening. It’s a welcomed change from the in-your-face overly technical prog album. This one will surely please to many prog rock and prog metal fans out there if you’re willing to trade your headbanging for some time on your sofa.