Hunters

Hunters

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AllMusic Review by

Hunters' Izzy Almeida and Derek Watson formed their band in part because they both loved grunge and proto-punk acts like Sonic Youth and the Stooges, and those influences ring out loud and clear (or should that be heavy and murky?) on their self-titled debut. While Watson's vocals often have a Kurt Cobain-like bray to them -- particularly on "Street Trash," where he and Almeida prove it's possible to shout in harmony -- Hunters don't ape Nirvana so much as Cobain's record collection: hints of the Melvins' sludge collide with singsongy boy-girl vocals reminiscent of the Vaselines. But while Watson and Almeida know all their favorites' tricks, they don't always do anything unique with them. Bands reviving a style as distinctive and well-known as grunge need to either find a new angle on the style or bring a fresh energy to it, and this is where the band struggles. They're not as relentless as their heavier inspirations, nor are they as hooky and dynamic as the poppier bands they love. This leaves Hunters in an awkward middle ground of formless grinds like "Seizure" and "It's True," where the melodies aren't strong enough to complement the riffs (it also doesn't help that the album lacks the roomy rawness of the Hands on Fire EP). The band fares best on the more structured songs like "Narcissist," which, like the Vines' grunge love letters, are pretty fun even if they aren't shockingly original. Likewise, "She's So" and "Thin Twin" suggest that Hunters could find a niche for themselves if they trust their pop instincts, while "Nosebleed"'s ebb and flow borrow some of Sonic Youth's expansiveness in a way the band makes its own. Occasionally entertaining but uneven, Hunters shows some promise but also serves as a reminder that great taste in music doesn't always make for a great album.

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