April 14th, 2011 | Album reviews

lisa strouss

Download the Humms “Buttermilk”

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(from the “Don’t Think About Death” 7″ available now from the Humms)

On the cover of the Humms’ “Don’t Think About Death” 45, singer Zeke Sayer grins like a giant pale-faced mestophalian spider, death in a black hoodie, with a cigarette for a scythe. Don’t think—just listen as you follow him to a monster mash in the deep south where some ghoul has spiked the punch with mescaline. This 7”, with tracks off their 2010 Lemonland album, showcases the Humms’ signature haunting surf-rock style. Like a zombie shredding a tasty wave, the tracks “Don’t Think About Death” and “Buttermilk” are a little scary and a lot of fun. The title track opens with a catchy yet contemplative surf riff that runs throughout the song and sounds as if it were being transmitted from the Other Side through some haunted transistor radio and accompanied by a head-nodding drumbeat. On “Buttermilk,” lyrics warn you of your own imminent filicide, while an accordion eerily warbles in the background, eventually finishing out the track alone like a specter chasing you through a long dark hallway. With a title that recalls the Ramones, inviting a comparison between Uncle Sam and the Klan, the third and final track, “Uncle Sam Took My Baby Away” is done in the style of a Southern spiritual and laments for a lover gone off to serve, a relevant sentiment in any war-time period and all the more so today. It’s simple and effective, and upbeat enough that you’ll want to sing along, and probably dance too.

—Nick Collins