Just when I think I'm growing out of noisy punk rock, The Hunches release a noisy
punk-rock record I can't get enough of. It's off and out of time and
screeching and crashing and squealing and just a fucking mess of noise
only come from a train wreck of instruments and I just adore it.
Lead howler Hart Gledhill starts with deep, bitter sneers that piss and
mumble close-up in your ear before breaking into screeching, burning
growls and howls and shrieks a shift so distinct, it feels schizophrenic.
Guitarist Chris Gunn pushes intricate, all-over-the-place guitar work
through fuzzed-out amps while in the back, alongside drummer Ben Spencer's
primal, passion-driven drumming, bassist Sarah Epstein pulls out heavy,
bellowing bass lines that sound intentionally muffled.
Live, it might stop there. But put the Portland, Oregon Electric Eels/Cheater Slicks-lovers in a studio and they'll prove vacuums, wrenches, bolts, stones and buckets are great music-makers too. They've saturated their new album, Hobo Sunrise, with bizarre noise that's so quirky and inventive you won't be able to determine its origin; you'll just feel saturated and lost in it too. And out of this collision of noisemakers, fuzz and distortion rises a soulful rhythm and blues so strong, the emotion and heartache buried beneath the wreckage is undeniable and that's what makes it all come together and work. "Frustration Rocket" rumbles and rushes with ferocious intensity, threatening to run over itself and pleading to make it stop: "I can't stand it/ I can't stand it."
The desperation in "Droning Fades On" is hidden beneath layers of spiraling, dying-to-hang-on riffs and suspenseful builds, while the minimal, forceful "I'm an Intellectual" feels like old-school in-your-face punk rock, subject to none other than loads of squealing, distorted noise. "When I Became You" might be the most accessible of the set for its inviting, chiming guitar line and infectious, albeit rough-and-tumble, beat-making.
The album closes with the aptly titled "A Flower in the Ending," a slower paced, more low-key song with relatively clean sounds and the chance for rhythms and melodies to, for the first time in 13 tracks, stand out sweetly above the blistering noise. But even in their softer moments, they're still an undeniably dirty, blaring disaster of primal punk rock driven by a will for the weird. And as long as there's bands like The Hunches around, I ain't never gonna grow up.