Review: Hummer “Budweiser and Butter”

Better Hummer Band Photo from FB

Warrington-based Punks Hummer have released an EP called “Budweiser and Butter“, and I must admit I’m quite excited to give it a listen. I’ve seen Hummer play a few times so I’m prepared for what I’m in for, and eager to check it out.

Hummer have been around since 2004 in one guise or another, going on a hiatus as their members completed higher education and returning with new material in 2016 through Horn and Hoof Records. The band themselves describe themselves as “Lying somewhere between Leatherface and No Use For A Name which I get. I also hear The Loved Ones and a little bit of The Lawrence Arms in there too.

Opener Daisies starts strongly, possibly a bit more aggressively than I was expecting. It’s a fast one, with a solid beat and some nasty riffing. Production from Kesbri Studios sounds punchy on the track and I can certainly envisage Daisies becoming a live staple (and if it isn’t boys, it should be). The song talks of changing one’s ways after years of hedonistic indulgence, which I find refreshing given the amount of punk songs you hear glorifying the party lifestyle.

Title track Budweiser and Butter has a happier tone to it, jangly lead lines before the vocals kick in and brilliantly harmonised vocals. Drums follow a similar pace to the previous track but the riffs make it sound completely different. Guitarist Joe Watson has some nice lead lines in the middle of the song too. Lyrically, the song is similar to the previous song, “Nothing new, nothing to discover, bad mood is gonna pull me under”. Fundamental life change links both songs and makes me wonder whether this is the theme of the record.

Turpentine was released prior to the EP and thumps along at the same pace as the previous two songs. It seems that fundamental life change is a lyrical theme, as Turpentine refers to “Waking up and smelling (it)…” as well as apprehension to change. Hummer seem to be following the old ABBA trick of pairing euphoric musical composure with deeply personal, even miserable lyrical content. I am enjoying this other side to the boys I’ve seen before.

At this point I switched from listening to the EP from speakers to headphones, and I can hear some of the finer nuances the band have added to the songs. Producer Ant Booth and Kesbri Studios have pulled a blinder.

Workahol picks up the pace by some margin, faster even than the opener Daisies and I think this is probably my favourite song on the EP so far. One line that really resonated (and I’m paraphrasing here) was “Am I finally at the end of some losing streak or have I just found my spot in life?” This ode to administrative servitude and the things one sacrifices to a job they don’t care about is at odds with the themes from the other songs around changing one’s fortunes. Musically, this is fast and it’s aggressive but there’s lead lines that delicately work their way through the verses and the first full-on guitar solo as well. The whole band collectively sound brilliant here, as the words and words I’ve written suggest.

This Won’t End Well For You is more sedate than the other songs I’ve heard so far, bit less gain on the guitars than some of the others but it’s a welcome change of pace. Lyrically, it’s completely different to the rest of the songs heard so far, closer to cliché pop-punk territory than the others.

Stone Cold Wasted continues musically in a similar vibe to the previous song and lyrically isn’t about what you’d think it’d be. It has more in common with the first half of the EP with turning your life around as well as accepting being on one’s own. The song itself is abruptly short, which took me by surprise.

Invested has a great lead line to begin with and is an unapologetic declaration of being an arsehole, with “HEYS”! It is an absolute rejection of any bullshit, to oneself as well as to the world. “I won’t waste my time if there’s nothing else to say” is a great line. I enjoyed the middle part which even got some “oohs”. Cracking stuff. I’ve made my point and got out your faces, Hummer.

Closer Unreasonable turns the gain up and has a great guitar lick before the rest of the band kick in. This song sounds like an axe to grind, around someone getting sacked from their job. Whereas the first half of the album discusses changing one’s life through personal actions, this song like some of the others in the second half of the record relate to issues outside one’s control. There’s a bit of a false finish on the song as well.

There were songs on this record that I really enjoy, as I think my writing on them attests. Workahol is definitely the song of the record for me. At times when listening through earphones I did struggle to hear lyrics clearly, whether that’s an issue with the vocalists, the production or myself  I don’t know. This is an EP of two distinct halves, and I personally enjoyed the first half a lot more.

SONGS YOU SHOULD STREAM: Workahol, Daisies, Invested

You can buy the EP from here

All photos taken by Scott Bradley of Phukin Photos

Better Hummer EP photo

 

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