Friday, October 26, 2012

Hunter Valentine: "Collide & Conquer" (album review)

A buzz is growing around Toronto power trio Hunter Valentine and their new record Collide & Conquer.  For this, their third album, the group tapped Treble Charger's Greig Nori for production duties.

The result is a pretty slick sounding record.  With nary a rough edge or sharp corner to be heard, it's almost as polished as a hard rock record can get.  It doesn't get much more finely-honed than "The Pulse".

You'll find yourself tapping your toes to the high-energy "Gates Of Hell".  The pumping "Little Curse (Shit Happens)" careens headlong in the album's most out-of-control moment.  The opener "Liar Liar" is a glammed-up Riot Grrl ditty.

So much of Hunter Valentine is predicated on attitude.  Thankfully, that hasn't been produced out of these songs.  Cuts like "Nowhere To Run" and "Ted's Collision" convey a sense of defiance that fits beautifully with the band's image.

Sometimes the power you expect just doesn't materialize.  "Lonely Crusade" is a particularly weak, self-conscious number.  The multi-voiced "Crying" seems more worthy of former folkies like Tegan & Sara than it does a punk-inspired act.

Lyrics are not the strong suit for Hunter Valentine either.  Songs like "This Bull Rides Tonight" are unimaginative and superficial.

Hunter Valentine has a lot to work with.  However, one can't help but wish they had put as much effort into the substance of their music as they did with their style.

Best tracks: "Priscilla", "Liar Liar"

Track listing for Collide & Conquer:
  • Liar Liar
  • Lonely Crusade
  • The Pulse
  • Crying
  • Little Curse (Shit Happens)
  • Nowhere To Run
  • This Bull Rides Tonight
  • Gates of Hell
  • Ted's Collision
  • Priscilla
  • The Great Canadian Love Song

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