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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mr. Hunter - The Awakening

Mr. Hunter - The Awakening
2010, Mr. Hunter

Mr. Hunter is a Hoboken, New Jersey musical collective built around the songwriting of Chris Marcus.  Any given album or performance may feature some of a number of rotating colleague and friends of Marcus, giving Mr. Hunter a broad stylistic brush that is kept new and vibrant by the constant circulation of talent.  Mr. Hunter’s most recent EP, The Awakening, shows off some of the rapidly shifting landscape that underpins Mr. Hunter’s sound.

The Awakening opens with "Corner", a jazz/pop hybrid with a nice chorus.  The unidentified female vocalist has a nice sound but struggles with pitch at times, and is buried a bit too deep in the mix.  "The Stranger" captures a 1960's rock vibe that's very smooth but hints at its garage roots.  It's a song of social conscience exploring the need to help out our fellow man.  The vocalist struggles with pitch and breath control on a melodically pretty vocal line but manages to get through without too much damage.  "Trapped" is an elongated jam that's a bit bland, and at nine-plus minutes long outstays its welcome.  This is the version that ought to be played toward the end of late set in a boozy club, but is just too longitudinal and lethargic for an EP.  "Time To Go" features fine work on the piano and keys and is one of two standout tracks.  The vocals don't kick in until about 1:45 in and the energy is solid throughout.  The Awakening closes with "Sand", the best song on the disc.  The catchy arrangement runs nearly seven minutes, and the vocalist once again struggles on pitch on the soulful vocal line but displays a quietly enigmatic personality that holds listeners' attention.  This nugget has a distinctly 1960's soul feel in spite of the mellow approach, and shows promise for the band.

Mr. Hunter makes their case on The Awakening.  The vocalist wrestles with pitch throughout, but delivers a largely competent performance and will improve significantly with some targeted vocal training focusing on breath control and discipline.  It's too early to chart a likely trajectory for Mr. Hunter, but at the very least they figure to be a solid working band with a small but loyal local/regional following.  The Awakening is a solid step in the right direction.

Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Mr. Hunter at or  The Awakening is available digitally via iTunes.

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