The Hunt existed for a blink of an eye between 2007 and 2009, just long enough to bring their gothy post-punk tunes to their home in New York's bustling indie scene and issue their debut 7" on the then-fledgling label Sacred Bones. The band made multiple attempts at recording a full-length, eventually succeeding on a trip to Boston, but then broke up before the record saw any kind of release. The album was shelved, presumably forever, as the bandmembers went on to new projects like the neo-folky Cult of Youth. By 2013, Sacred Bones had grown in both prominence and popularity and was in the rare position of living to see a catalog with 100 releases. To celebrate, they pulled the lost album by the Hunt out of the archives, dusting off The Hunt Begins to revisit the band that launched the label. Recorded in 2009, the nine songs that make up the album sound wedged somewhere between the early-'80s post-punk influences that inspired them and the not-quite-dated but definitely notable boom of bands exploring those influences in the late 2000s. Joy Division basslines, howling Nick Cave vocals, brittle and echo-drenched guitar lines that would fit on the Cure's Seventeen Seconds -- all these elements melt into the often jagged landscapes of The Hunt Begins. There's a little more of a rock edge to the songs, however, with moments of fast-paced, energetic spookiness akin to the Misfits or Samhain, and even some moments of hardcore-styled sing/shoutalongs. The Hunt seems not just enamored with post- punk revisionism, but like they truly had some things to work out with their music at the time. They're the type of band that can deliver a lyric like "I'm drowning in a cesspool called humanity!" (from the slow-burning tune "Scripts") not just with a straight face, but with a gothic conviction that lets the listener know they mean it from the bottom of their cold, deadened hearts.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas