Finding a specialism in storytelling, The Howl and the Hum are back with a sad disco track for fans of crying in the club.
For those not familiar with York-formed 4 piece, The Howl and the Hum are a testament to the process. Having met organically while each haunting the many open mic nights at pubs around the city, their music feels like a passion-driven jam sesh polished into something beautiful. Each member bringing their best, the music, voice and production merge perfectly in each song to create just great songs.
This new track, 27, is no different. Starting softly with frontman Sam Griffiths’ voice set solo and crisp against a synth, the track opens with a simple sentiment – You said it’s not you, it’s me – but soon crashes into full-on production. Even just in its form, there’s a catharsis in this song, riding through waves of moments of vulnerable ballad-like lyrics into catching beats that you hope to hear at 2am on a night you said would be finished by 12. And Sam’s voice is the perfect guide through the motions, managing to be both gentle yet full-bodied and rich. His rapturous choruses feel just as emotional and genuine as his crooning bridge, never faulting but also never feeling forced or over-rehearsed. As with the feeling of the song, there’s a sense of letting go and enjoying the ride as the vocals and melody cruise together through the highs and lows of this half-ballad, half-banger.
And when it comes to the lyrics there’s really no other option but to sit back and surrender as you get the sense of watching from the outside. Similar to their other releases, 27 feels like a fully realised story with a plot and characters you’re introduced to. Instead of being the backing music for a film trailer, The Howl and the Hum songs feel like a full film, existing in their own little universe; a feeling that’s refreshing and rare within the indie-ballad genre and an industry that thrives off the relatability people find in songs. As with The Only Boy Racer Left On The Island and Godmanchester Chinese Bridge, there’s a specificity within the lyrics of 27 that makes you stop trying to find yourself within it, realising ‘oh this isn’t about me’ and inviting you to sit back and listen. Buying into the well-known 27 club, the track circles around the relatable feeling of looking back with bitterness on a breakup, but brings you into a fully-formed scene of specific car journeys and words said. You feel included in the emotions, but always a witness to the story; a unique feeling for those that prefer to stop and listen to lyrics. If that’s not you, there’s plenty of hooking beat to pull you in.
It’s what they do best, and 27 may be the best example of it so far. Thoughtfully made choruses climaxing into big, exciting choruses, cashing in on the flawless indie formula with a new take on lyric writing that feels superior to clean-cut, easily relatable clichés. As 27 brings the band another step towards the release of their debut album, Human Contact, due on May 29th, it perfectly summarises what fans will find on the record. Just as capable of softness as they are of dance-inducing disco, feeling both isolating and strangely comforting, managing to sound big and intimate all at once, the something strange and unique in what The Howl and the Hum do that I can really only think to chalk up to pure love of the art and a need to express.