Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Track Review: Hunters - Narcissist

We wrote a discovery feature on New York's Hunters last month to coincide with their pre-release single "She's So". Feeling the anarchism in the voices of guitarist Derek Watson and frontwomen Izzy Almeida is an understatement. The punk they play isn't just a United States 70s Ramones copycat - they don't have any punk rock fans called Sheena (perhaps they do... That's not the point.) Instead of the calm, righteous three chord progressions USA's punk scene is known for, bar-The Stooges, Hunters play a heavier unique style of punk. It's the gritty, sparse lyricism and sound of Wire's Pink Flag, with a modern twist that brings to mind the 90s alternative rock and grunge scene. Last month we compared "She's So" to a certain Chicago band: "Hunters fulfil the hopes and dreams of a 80s kid wanting more Smashing Pumpkins." This comparison, and part of Hunters' sound has to be credited to Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha. He produced their 2011 debut EP Hands on Fire with Yeah Yeah Yeah's guitarist Nick Zinner. Watson shares the same guitar sounds of Iha, and the same hairstyle as Zinner. The duo have an idea of what they want to achieve with their debut album HUNTERS. Mom + Pop have given them 100% backing and looking at Mom + Pop's punk related artists, Wavves, FIDLAR, and Parquet Courts, it looks like they can take Hunters to where they want to be.

As a frontwomen, Almeida has her work cut out. It's not just about being a vocalist when you're in a punk rock band. There’s a certain image, aesthetic that needs to be followed. Almedia is more of a future icon than a regular vocalist. Her high hitting vocals are reminiscent of Karen O, with dainty features of expression relating well with Watson's grainy, rough vocal - Cobain-esque. "Narcissist" is the opening track on HUNTERS. It's a sweaty, punk-pelting song that's easily distinguishable to their earlier discography. One of punk's biggest enemies is repetition; Hunters have been fighting off criticisms with their extensive genre binding history. It's not just punk, it's the essence of alternative rock, garage rock, and art punk built together to create a defining sound. "Narcissist" opens with a breath-taking distorted two note bass riff, and ends with a harsh harmony and a drone fade out. Hunters' recordings sound more like a dominant genre takeover, rather than the up and coming band they really are. They’ve already penned a full album, with sights on a nail-biting future. Project-Hunters is a go, destination: rock. 

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