by tom johnson
I’m convinced that somewhere in that jangle of guitar that runs like an exotic wave through so many dream-pop songs, lies the answer to all of our problems; a bottled-up elixir that tells us to run instead of walk, to chase instead of hide, to throw ourselves in to the great arms of the unknown when the comfort of familiarity and the safety net of conformity is so much the easier option.
While this might sound too much like a drunken, overblown spilling of nonsense, all I really mean to say is that the kind of music that Hunter Jones makes can sometimes feel like the solution, because it feels so led by the heart rather than the head. It aches with mood, it’s driven by exploration, by the need to just let loose, to unravel, rather than the plain-stated practice of simply writing a song. Through its calm tranquility it protrudes enterprise, like the first time you saw the ocean or noticed the smell of summer.
The band’s most recent EP/mini album came to our attention thanks to the ever-fruitful Love Our Records, though Suburban Slang was initially recorded and released in the back-end of 2014 via merdurhaus records (but kept offline until now). It’s seven tracks are relentlessly affecting. While casual ears might well label it as slacker-pop or something similarly dismissive, the record is endearingly, importantly resonant. It drifts like a dream but it’s a dream informed by the truth of the day, the kind that hits like a sucker punch and sticks with you no matter how much you try and fight it away. ‘Lazy Day‘ is the antithesis of such a thing; a somewhat burned-out respire that acts as something of an subdued opener. The instrumental ‘Marlon’s Theme‘ raises the stakes, however, building brilliantly through a series of escalating guitar runs; it’s everything I was talking about above and some.
Elsewhere both the title track and ‘Father McKenzie‘ are sprawling additions that build to a bulky, dramatic finale before ‘Meu Amor‘ adds a gorgeous trumpet in to the mix, for an unexpected change of pace, and a minute-long, spoken word outro draws proceedings to a close.
Hopefully given a second-wind with the online re-release, Suburban Slang is a brilliantly melodic, often exhilarating dose of surf-pop that feels so tied in with a summer that’s quickly slipping away that to spend even a single journey with it is to find your entire perspective shifted slightly; a fleeting reminder of something greater at play.
Suburban Slang is out now, download via Bandcamp