Hunting Hunting

Hunting Hunting
8
This debut album from Hunting was first envisaged as a solo synth-pop project for singer/songwriter Bradley Ferguson (ex-Joystick, Bradley). We can be grateful he switched gears, turning this into a cinematic and compelling indie folk-flavoured record.

This is musical melancholy expressed at a very high level, with sophisticated and subtle instrumental arrangements married to a gently melodic voice that oft drips sadness. Clear reference points are Beck and Sparklehorse, as confirmed by the fact Hunting cover the latter's almost unbearably sad-sounding "It's A Wonderful Life" as well as "Everytime I'm With You," a co-write by Sparklehorse, Jason Lytle and Brian Burton.

The remaining eight songs are originals that showcase Ferguson's talent as a songsmith. He and co-producer/drummer John Raham assembled one impressive cast list of top Vancouver musicians, including John Ellis, Paul Rigby (Neko Case), Dustin Bentall, Darren Parris and Jesse Zubot. Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother adds vocals to three cuts, most strikingly on "Patti," the most energized tune here, while Ferguson proves himself a skilled multi-instrumentalist, on bass, keyboards, guitars and glockenspiel (Jessica Yliruusi also rocks the glock on most songs).

A highlight of the dud-free disc is "Everything Will Be Okay," a sedately-paced tune that features banjo and shimmering steel guitar (both from Ellis) and swelling strings (per Zubot) that build to a mild yet satisfying crescendo. Expect plenty of good will for this Hunting, and deservedly so. (Nevado)