Hunter Valentine – [Album]

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Some bands are simply unable to escape the comparisons they draw once they've been saddled with them at the beginning of their career, no matter how hard they try. In the name of growth, bands have been known to try some wild and odd stuff in an effort to escape the hole in which listeners have pegged them (Nirvana tried to scare off some fans, Dylan changes hats regularly, John Lydon calls his efforts under the influence of different muses by a different band name each time he switches and more), every time with results that are at least initially mixed. It can sometimes be frustrating for fans to keep up with bands  that haven't yet decided who and what they want to be or represent.

Happily, Hunter Valentine doesn't have that kind of problem. From the first time some writer likened the band's efforts to that of The Runaways (it likely happened in 2005), the band has continually tried to perpetuate that comparison and, if anything, they've only improved  at doing it – as Lessons From The Late Night illustrates.

There are precisely no tricks or surprises as “The Stalker” kicks the record off. Singer Kiyomi McCloskey starts yapping trash miserable and mildly terrifying men, while simultaneously seemed to love and hate the attention they're paying her because they're creepy but at least they're paying attention. “Yapping” is absolutely the right word too – half effeminate bark and yelp, the singer has found the best way (a.k.a. Cherie Currie's way) to play the roles of both victim and victor simultaneously; by veering between each part by the line per verse and thereby kissing or kissing off all the boys and/or making them cry several times over per song. McCloskey further perfects that device in songs like “Revenge,” “She Only Loves Me When She's Wasted” and “Barbara Jean” and sets herself up as the ultimate punk diva; ready for anything or ready to walk straight out the door if things aren't going her way. The best part is that the histrionics work; fans are already hooked to petulant and boisterous rhythm that swings listeners around and jostles them into a sublime state of glee. Listeners can't stop themselves from falling under Hunter Valentine's spell because, behind each turn (but particularly “Revenge,” “Scarface” and “A Youthful Existence”) the pop-punk hooks that the band presents are pure and solid gold; the band doesn't let up and certainly never backs down.

By the same token, Lessons From The Late Night is also the third time (there's one previous full length and one EP) that Hunter Valentine has danced this dance and played this game, so some critics will be asking if it's the only one the band knows. Those critics that complain are holier-than-thou granola heads; Hunter Valentine is quickly reaching a critical mass and, soon, they'll explode.



Lessons From The Late Night
is out now in Canada and will be released worldwide on May 11, 2010. Pre-order a copy of the domestic release here on Amazon .

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