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The Hunches: The Hunches


The Hunches: The Hunches

Label:In the Red
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2009
Genre:Rock/Pop

Posted 2/11/2009

The Hunches

(In the Red)

If this is any indication, the movement known variously as "shitgaze," "no-fi," and assorted other combinations of "pop," "distortion," "garage," "busted," and "shredder," ended a year and a half ago when the Hunches began working on their stated last album, Exit Dreams. The band had stopped playing on any kind of regular basis sometime before and, with this record, will finish off its career with a farewell tour. This isn't to say the genre starts and ends with this Oregon band, but Exit Dreams is one of its finer, most satisfyingly busted documents.

The Hunches, when they were active, were known as an unhinged, combustible band full of flailing, violence, and, occasionally, thrown shit. Right at the height of aughties postpunk's affection for the dance floor, the Hunches released a 7-inch of the one-and-a-half-minute thrash "Fuck Disco Beats," which is basically frontman Hart Gledhill ripping his vocal cords apart in gravelly blasts of distortion. Dude was pissed.

Exit Dreams translates as well as possible a Hunches live show--you can only hope, anyway--though it's more refined than the exhilarating thrash cataclysm that came before it, the Hobo Sunrise LP. For 12 songs, Gledhill sings like a caveman version of Lou Reed over overpowered amps and distorted jangle guitar, with pop hooks lurking in the midst like the subject of an alleyway beatdown. The last wash of pure distortion that ends the gnashing "Ate My Teeth" ("I ate my teeth/ What can I say/ Too much decay") begets the cloying, gazery "Not Invented," which could pass for a rougher Velvet Underground number. And most of the record goes that way, alternating between some of the most acerbic, diseased "shitgaze" on the market and welcoming, slowed-down distortion dreams. (Michael Byrne)

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