Toby Valmas (vocals/guitar/keys) and Andrew Couglin (drums) are a newly formed band called Night Hums. They mention they took influence from ’80s new wave on their self-titled release Night Hums. That all makes sense. However let's dive into this a bit more. Night Hums sounds closer to bands like M83 and Cut Copy who both have tremendous influence from ’80s new wave acts like New Order, The Sisters of Mercy, The Cure and other like-minded bands. To pin the tail on the donkey Night Hums has most in common with the album Saturdays=Youth by M83 and pioneers of the sound Cocteau Twins.
The EP opens with “Coastal Roads.” I loved the production and elements right away. Luckily, they can also write a hook. I can’t say there were any surprises along the way but I was pulled in by the infectious melodies. Out of all the songs “Coastal Road” felt like it could be a B-side of Saturdays=Youth.
“Fiends” veers in slightly different directions. It felt more pop oriented with some resemblance to bands like CHVRCHES and Passion Pit. “Without You” was a highlight. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and this song has tons of it. The reverb washes over you and that guitar solo was straight from the ‘80s. “Night Drives” is upbeat, bright and ridiculously catchy while the closer “Yesterday” brings back the nostalgia I always yearn for at the end of the night.
80’s new wave never completely died, it just mutated. Other genres like shoegaze and dream pop would soon branch off and movies like Drive and labels like Italians Do It Better would reinvigorate the genre with synth pop with bands like The Chromatics.
Night Hums is a promising band that is keeping the spirit alive. My only advice is to be aware of wearing your influence too close to your sleeve. Being a singular band with a signature sound is still the recipe I believe has the most chance of catching the collective conscious of an audience.
Night Hums is on a good trajectory and I am excited for their future. Godspeed.
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