2017 is an unusual year to release a new album. Songs that were possibly written years ago are listened to within the context of current events, and in many cases can take on new meanings: hopeful tracks become rallying cries, somber songs serve as soundtracks for fresh tragedies.
Nashville band Humming House’s new album Companion was written with such a phenomenon in mind. The album’s 12 tracks, which the band began writing in earnest in 2015, seek to be just as the LP’s title suggests: musical companions for trying times. The four-piece band recorded the album, which is the follow-up to 2015’s Revelries, with producers Jordan Lehning and Eric Masse, and recruited Ed Spear for mixing. The resulting album is a sonic departure for the band, described by vocalist Justin Wade Tam as “Humming House goes electric.”
“Our goal was to embrace where we’ve been as a band while simultaneously attempting to remove the barriers of genre and instrumentation,” Tam explains. “On our last album, we set out to arrange pop songs with solely acoustic instruments. While we enjoyed the exercise and are proud of it, we wanted to dive deeper.”
Thematically, many of the songs on Companion achieve a sense of universality by daring to venture into the deeply personal. “Make It Through” was inspired by Tam’s own chronic health problems but may as well be an anthem for those of us struggling to read the daily news. “Silver Lining” is exactly that — a sliver of brightness gleaming in the dark.
“’Wishing Well,’ one of my favorite songs, is an appeal to take care of one another, to recognize the beauty and fragility of our shared humanity,” Tam adds. “Such a central sentiment has felt increasingly poignant as we’ve faced so much tragedy in 2017. ‘Find What Waits,’ ‘Hope In My Head,’ and ‘Sign Me Up’ highlight my existential wandering and search for meaning. We’re all trying to find our path, our purpose, our means of survival.”