Album - loveBUZZ
Artist – The Hummingbirds
Key Players – Mark Temple – drums.
Robyn St.Clare – bass, vocals. Alannah Russack – guitar, vocals.
Simon Holmes – guitar, vocals.
Produced By – Mitch Easter
Release Date – Late 1989
What caused me to blow off the dust? -
This one has been sort of staring at me for a bit, but honestly I
wasn't sure what I'd find on them. Well finally I decided I just had
Overview – Sydney, Australia jangle
pop band “The Hummingbirds” were formed in 1986 and quickly
became a very popular band by the late 80s. Once signed the band
would release this record to solid reviews but despite such praise
the band didn't sell well in the USA. The band would struggle after
the release of a second full length with label and some internal
issues. They'd disband by the end of 1993.
FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Right
out of the gate you are hooked as “Blush” starts up.
Great harmonies, gritty guitar, but
layers of acoustic and a super catchy chorus. Really, just listen to the clip below and you'll get it. “She Knows....” starts with layers
of acoustic and electric guitars. There are a few overdubs on this
section as layer upon layer builds. The group sits on that main riff
for some time before Temple clicks it off. St. Clare and Russack
give the subtle layers underneath Holmes. With each breathy line,
they'd then soar and be right on the side with Holmes. A perfect
blend or harmonies. “Hollow Inside” has more electric feel at
the outset with Temple working around the kit. As with the other
tracks Holmes will sing the first layer while the backing vocals
remain strong. St. Clare and Russack have unique styles of both
rough and tumble to soaring high harmonies. The vocals actually seem
overly complex at times, but always interesting. Holmes takes the
first run at any sort of guitar solo, but Temple gets it all back to
the initial vibe of the track. As the track draws towards a
conclusion the Holmes seems to repeat his “ooh/ahhs” while the
ladies sing in the round. A frantic closing ensues. The tempo is a
little lighter as “Tuesday”beings. This time Holmes is not the
primary vocalist. Russack and St. Clare take those duties. Holmes
is not left out, taking to his guitar with a little more of a
distorted delivery. Temple is after it a bit more as well, but the
ladies keep it all very clean. Holmes is back as the primary
vocalist on “Word Gets Around”. The guitars seems a bit more “in
your face”. We are not that deep in to the record and its easy to
hear what set this band apart, really solid focus on the harmonies of
the vocals in this rock setting. No one member seems to outshine, or
overtake the other, they all mesh so well. “House Taken Down” is
a slower tempo song, but still full of big sound. Temple seems to
want it to get rolling, but the band is okay with the smoother/calm
delivery. The guitars get big later in the track which is a great
touch and Holmes to get after it some, but the long chord drones are
something to listen for. “Get On Down” is a quick romp with the
guitars in the front. The bass levels are lacking I've realized by
this point. The vocals make up for it, I guess. Temple clicks off
the side of his drums as “Alimony” starts up. The guitar tone is
great here, with that perfect blend of jangle and fuzz. A sound many
guitarists look for. Holmes seems a little monotone, but the ladies
again make it all very interesting. St.Cllare takes the lead on
“Everything You Said” another easier feeling tune. The drums
sound solid, but everyone is pretty held back. Short guitar chords,
2-3 bass notes, but nothing overly complex. After the second verse
the band seems to find a fun groove and within the mix you hear St.
Clare get a little bit on the bass, fun line she lays down. The
verse is done, they come back to this fun jam, then Temple seems to
want it to break down more and goes after it on the kit and the band
joins in for a fun run on the hook. The guitars do the slow fade up
and “Barbarian” gets underway. Again you can hear some of the
bass work which is nice, but the dueling guitars stand out here.
Temple keeps it pretty simple, not over doing it. The guitars are
the showcase here, really playing off one another. Key word here is
guitars...a decent solo from Temple towards the end before it layers
nice to the end. Acoustic guitars seem to be a bit more prevalent as
“Three in the Morning” gets underway. My desire to hear bass is
now being answered as St. Clare has some solid fills under the
jangles of the guitar. The harmonies continue to be solid, always
catching your ear and then the guitar attack happens and suddenly
ends as the bass and drums get the verse back going. An organ opens
up the track “Michelle As Well”. It is short and then Temple
does some cymbal strikes and off we go. Another mid-tempo track that
fits with the albums mood. “If You Leave” starts with acoustic
guitar layered over by electric guitars. It seems like an ebow but
the ring is not there. The ladies work in tandem here and Temple is
careful to not over do it. Holmes will sing a line before another
sung line from Russack. The layers are overwhelmingly complex, and
the band makes it all seem easy. The 14 track album concludes with
“Miles to Go”. A hushed vocal delivery accented with the solo
acoustic guitar. This is how it is laid out but then the guitar picks
up and the vocals get quicker, almost in the round singing, but then
it goes back to the feel of the intro. The “in the round” was
more fun, but I can see them ending calmly.
Where are they now? - The band
re-formed for an appearance 2011 as part of the Big Day Out Festival
in Sydney Australia. In the early part of the break up Holmes and
Russack played in bands or as solo artists. St. Clare wrote “Into
Your Arms” for the Lemonheads and had recorded with other bands.
FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live
experience) – I never saw the band live.
FDF Overall Take – If you like a
jangle to your guitars and solid male/female harmonies this is
something worth searching out. Overall its “decent” but for the
most part the first track is their gem. Not sure how easy to find,
but those in the know appear willing to spend the dough, so be
Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
It is out of print but can be found. If you look at amazon.com
The only issue is you are paying collectors prices it seems.
Disclaimer – I am just a music fan.
Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly
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