Friday, December 07, 2007

Jana Hunter--There's No Home (2007)

Artist-Jana Hunter
Album-There's No Home
Release Date-Apr 10, 2007
Genre/Style-Acid Folk


Review-Jana Hunter's debut album, Blank Unstaring Heirs Of Doom was a gentle yet psychedelically disturbing affair. It gave real weight to the term "freak folk." Its songs were wonderfully unnerving and as its titles suggests, often bleak. While the title of There's No Home doesn't make it sound like a much happier affair, musically the two sets couldn't be more different. This set, like its predecessor was recorded for Devendra BanHart's and Andy Cabic's Gnomonsong imprint, as a sophomore effort rings truer and stronger than her first. With skeletal help from brother John Hunter, John Adams (Fatal Flying Guilloteens), and Matt Brownlie (Bring Back the Guns), Hunter's songs, while slow, drawling affairs-she's a Texan and it was recorded there-are lighter, breezier, tighter and wittier. This is not to say she's become a pop singer. Hardly. She's still on the left side of the folk underground's divide, but the practice of her craft is more disciplined and her lyric writing is tighter if no less offbeat. There are 13 new songs here, all of them standing heads and shoulders above her debut-which was no slouch. The beautiful weave of voices in "Vultures" by Hunter, Brownlie, and Ashlynn Davies turns a leaving song into a real road song. There is no bottom dwelling sentiment anywhere. The droning lilt of "Movies," on which Hunter layers her own voice and guitars with Brownlie's synth, is an atmospheric interlude worthy of anything directed by Wim Wenders. "Regardless," is a moving, fingerpicked series of open strings and guitar knots. This is not to say that MS. Hunter's left all her darkness at the door. "Pinnacle," with its fuzzed up and droning guitars amidst the reverb-laden vocals and rumbling drums is creepy as hell, especially when followed by the guitar interlude that follows it. But "Oracle," brings it all back down to the roots of back porch, rock and roll folksy psych. "Sirens is a haunted and hunted lullaby and the title track is one of the more wistful heartbreakers to come out of the indie folk scene period. What it all adds up to is a nice step forward for Hunter. For those who find themselves lingering on the fringes after her debut, There's No Home is the greeting card to dive in with both ears and get your ears drenched in pleasure.

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