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James Hunter and The Gatherers - Single Review: Suburban Dystopia

24 Jun 2021 // A review by Callum Wagstaff
James Hunter is an alt folk musician from Poneke. He writes, records, and produces records that are minimal in scope, but intimate through his vocal delivery. Lockdown seems to have been a productive time for James Hunter. It helped him release two EP's: 2020's Last Little While and this year his sophomore effort You. His newest single Suburban Dystopia is a tonal departure for Hunter into a darker space where he explores themes of listlessness, loss of direction and disconnection.

The song sets the scene with a post-apocalyptic wind that takes me back to times spent aimlessly wandering the Hamilton CBD in that special hour where only the homeless and the earliest of the dawn joggers are around. Mournful harmonies and a future-noir synth line open the song while Hunter wails his hook in a ghostly falsetto, "I'm in suburban dystopia".

The narrative of the song is introspective, reading like an inner monologue from a character estranged from humanity. Almost like a classic private investigator wallowing in his own cynicism as an eerie plinking of notes punctuates the space between his musings.

In the final moments a heartbeat joins winds that sound like wolf cries and the song ends in a disquiet. Hunter wants the listener to interpret the song for themselves, hoping they can draw their own connection to the work. The themes have a  universality that will resonate with any listener that has felt frustration and uncertainty. Musically the song verges on soul, but doesn't settle into a genre so much as it embodies a mood. That kind of approach suits today's listening habits perfectly and you're bound to have a mood playlist that Suburban Dystopia can slide into effortlessly.
Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About James Hunter and The Gatherers

James Hunter is an alternative folk musician hailing from Wellington, New Zealand. Having been a writer and a performer all his life, Hunter writes, records, and produces records that are minimal in scope, but intimate through his vocal delivery.

The abrupt appearance of COVID 19 allowed Hunter the chance to release Two EPs, Last Little While and You which were created entirely from a small room in his Wellington flat.

Hunter’s sounds are created in narratives that allow listeners to journey with him through vulnerable places in the human soul: love, fear, faith, joy, pain. He hopes to share his life with others, in the hope of growing with others and being able to connect with others in the process.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for James Hunter and The Gatherers

Releases

You
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Last Little While
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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