LIVE REVIEW: The Howl & The Hum @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle (24.01.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Tracy Hyman

Hmmmm, I’ll approach this one with some concern as it may cause offence to the purists, but what to say about a genre-crossing, intellectually driven, guitar-based groove band who are led by a front-person of fireball energy, with expressionist outbursts and a penchant for slightly oversized clothes!?

If I wanted to be antagonistic, and I usually do, there could be a decent case to start talking about parallels between The Howl & The Hum frontman Sam Griffiths and David Byrne, but the reality, of course, is that The Howl & The Hum haven’t yet reached the insurmountable heights of Talking Heads, but there’s huge early promise with these lot. 

Equal parts new wave to dark alternative rock, it’s hard to define tonight’s version of the Hum as being anything other than a band who enjoy stepping into both the light and dark sides of the pop universe. Catchy and cheery in places, dark and moody in others, their sound is led by new wave style guitar lines, interesting narratives (Fiat Punto’s, sharks, rebuilding bridges) and poppy bass lines which form as a safety net for frontman Griffiths and his madcap facial gestures, hip shaking and unique method of guitar playing.  Humorous, passionate and self-aware, Griffiths is the star of the show and the type of pop star that can turn the normality of life into something memorising.  I’ll make no more comparisons, as it wouldn’t be fair, but this was an excellent show.


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