Fog – Hummer EP

Fog
Hummer EP

It sounds like one of those famous grammar school word problems. Andrew Broder is Fog. Fog is also a band. Fog – the man – released an EP called Hummer recorded mostly on 8-track at home. A few friends pitched in. What time does the train arrive in Minneapolis?

Broder seems to approach music with an “everything is an instrument” attitude. He uses guitar, turntables, piano, keyboards, drums, bells, and household items like kitchen utensils to create his sound. That sound is almost impossible to describe without using the biggest umbrella terms available – like eclectic, avant-garde, or simply art. It’s a mish-mashed cacophony of styles spit out and shined up into seven tracks of strangeness. That is not to say that Hummer is too odd or hard to listen to, but it will take a few spins before the average listener begins to digest it all. Some people just won’t get it at all because Fog doesn’t seem to have any borders and very little structure. Sure, you’ll find little bits of recognizable things, but for the most part Fog is, well, different.

The opening track “Whom That Hits Walls” seems intent on proving that Andrew Broder refuses to be confined by anything, and it almost works until the song falls apart into nothingness near the end. Other songs like “I, Baby” are situated at the opposite end of the spectrum – in this instance only featuring the starkest instrumentation and Broder’s hushed vocals. “Cockeyed Cookie Pusher” is easily the best of the bunch as it highlights Andrew’s voice at its best and some beautiful arrangement to boot.

Hummer is one of those releases that so many music critics will hail as being absolutely brilliant, and in some senses perhaps it is. If brilliance is Broder’s uncanny ability to get the off-kilter rhythms in his brain out into music, then this EP hits the nail on the head. The lack of cohesion can be distracting at times as can some of the lyrics, but Fog – the man – is certainly not out there trying to make sense to anyone but himself.