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Hunterchild

Air Date: 01-08-15

Hunterchild's 2014 self-titled debut album is an emotionally direct, darkly sexual mix of R&B-infused electronic pop. Featuring production from Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Wax Fang) and showcasing lead singer Luke Aaron Jones' throaty, sanguine vocals and keyboardist/percussionist Marty Sprowles' sparse, moody arrangements, the album is an immediately arresting, unforgettable collection of songs.

Born out of the 2012 breakup of the duo's previous band, Dreamers of the Ghetto (which also left Jones divorced from Dreamers keyboardist Lauren Jones), Hunterchild became the vehicle by which Jones and Sprowles could express their anger, sadness, and aching sense of loss. As Jones sings on "So Bad," "We all want something that we never had/We all want something that's both good and bad/But I've never wanted someone so bad/As bad, as I want you." Based on the duo's move from Dreamers' more buoyant, post-U2 guitar sound to the arch, internalized electronic soul that permeates all of Hunterchild's debut, the breakup clearly opened up new creative pathways and emotional themes to explore. And while Hunterchild's sound is rooted in '80s electronic synth pop, there is nothing cold or removed about the album. On the contrary, Hunterchild are informed as much by Violator-era Depeche Mode as they are by Love Deluxe-era Sade. If anything, Jones, with his bourbon-soaked croon and inclination for soul-baring honesty, borders on self-immolation rather than guarded detachment. As he sings on the heart-wrenching "Secret Messages," "I put secret little messages in my songs for you/And when I sing them my heart only feels for you." Elsewhere, on tracks like the lust-ridden "Aching" and the epic "Time Traveling Lover," Jones draws upon the even older, more organic '70s soul tradition as he lifts his vocals into a whispery falsetto over Sprowles' insistent, ringing keyboards and pulsating electronic beats. Aesthetically minimalist but emotionally generous, Hunterchild have taken their heartache and crafted a baroque, synth soul masterpiece.

Download: Hunterchild

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