“It all felt like part of some grand plan.” Singer/songwriter Erin Hunt is musing on the journey to the release of her second album, Brave New World, an uncommonly rich, joyous and exhilarating piece of work that defies categorization while freely exploring the deepest yearnings of the human condition. A profoundly musical record built for headphone listening – to sit back, fire up a fatty and disappear into – but also perfect to blast over speakers, to groove to, until the music stops you in your tracks (and it will). A career defining album that represents both a summit, and a beginning for Hunt.
At first glance, the title track “Brave New World” is an easy balm for these doom-laden times. But digging deeper, the song reveals a fundamental plea around manifesting your own reality, of the exhilaration of change, and a possible path by which to take control of your life.
Of course, none of this would matter as much if the music weren’t so bloody good. Brave New World is a showcase for Erin’s compositional and arrangement chops and discipline, each song being a ride in and of itself, lasting just the right amount of time. Echoing the enduring musical invention and dynamism of greats such as Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones, and John Martyn, it would be easy to slot Erin into the 70s singer/songwriter vibe, but there’s nothing retro about her sound or approach. The music, with its mélange of jazz, rock, Latin, pop, and on, and on, is impossible to define. In this kooky musical climate of endless genres, sub-genres, and sub-sub genres, perhaps it is best to say, “It doesn’t matter, as long as it sounds good.” But Erin and her hand-picked team of producers, engineers, mixers and musicians haven’t created something that simply sounds ‘good’, Brave New World sounds extraordinary. In this age of music made in a box, so to speak, this is a record that quietly, like the artist herself, rebels against convention, the end product being something you’ve never heard before, nor will forget.
Of course, the potency and endless creativity of the band amplifies (!) everything on Brave New World, an album stacked with sublime moments of ensemble and solo work from the stellar band of Joel Joseph (keyboards), Dan Miller (drum and keyboard programming), KC Roberts (guitar) and Tony Rabalao (drums). Brave New World is an album of really great playing, and this is a band that offers a dizzying display of musicianship and intuition, making the most of Hunt’s arrangements. The album closer (and fourth single), ‘Won’t Give Up’ is perhaps the band at its most dynamic and explosive, underpinning the lyric of resilience and faith, then perfectly matching the powerful, insistent refrain that typifies the spirit and drive and exuberance of the whole record, ‘We don’t give up, we don’t give up, we don’t give up.’
And, it’s an album that most assuredly feels like part of a grand plan, but also simply one (sublime) step in the career of Erin Hunt.
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