ALBUM REVIEW: Malojian – Humm

8/10

Malojian - Humm

Malojian, aka Stevie Scullion, sends his latest album, Humm, out into the world with the message, “if it brings you even a few minutes of distraction during these strange times then happy days”.

Mission accomplished.

Co-produced with Jason Lytle of Granddaddy, Humm, was due to be released on Rollercoaster Records later in the year, but Scullion made the album available early as a surprise.

Scullion’s songwriting craft has taken him to work with huge names in music, including Steve Albini, and for this fifth album, he has assembled a cast of great talent. Joey Waronker (REM, Beck), Gerry Love (Teenage Fanclub) and Jon Thorne (Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, Lamb) all feature, but it’s the influence of Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle which, along with Scullion’s inimitable style, knits Humm together so well.

The eleven tracks are a perfect companion. From the gentle warmth of Burns and Someone K New to the intergalactic sounding guitar tones of Andy Murray punctuated through Chinooks and Trampolining, and on to the synth-infused rock in The Golden Age and Tsundoku, there’s a breadth of sound on Humm which will ensure anyone you ask will likely name a different song as their favourite.

Announcing the album’s release in a message to followers, Malojian wrote:

“All of this was only possible because of the internet. Bouncing ideas around the world and back again. I named it after “Foilhummerum Bay”, which is on Valencia Island off the coast of Ireland and is where the transatlantic cable leaves from. So who knows, in this time of social distancing, maybe this is actually the right time to put it out, back through the same door it came in.”

Taking this sentiment one step further, Scullion made isolated piano and vocal tracks from the album’s bonus track Singularity available to download. Since its release, the artist has been sharing alternate versions of the song produced by fans and musicians far and wide with the hashtag #JasonLytleChallenge. This simple idea has turned into something else altogether and brought his fans and followers together in a much deeper way than simply love for his music. Like bringing a fan on stage to sing along, Scullion has allowed them to become a part of his music at a time when such interaction seemed impossible.

Humm is a stunning addition to the catalogue of one of Ireland’s most prolific artists and with Singularity, Scullion has ensured its legacy will go far beyond its eleven tracks.

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