Friday, February 6, 2009

Reviews:: Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers

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When we cobbled together the Manitoba edition of the Great Canadian Mixtape, we were stuck waiting on a few songs and the deadline kept getting delayed ... and delayed again. Luckily, Ricardo Lopez pointed us towards a few bands he’d played or worked with, and the last couple of songs – courtesy of the Liptonians and Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers – were two of the best on the compilation.

The FFatHG track we featured - Nurse - is from their debut, self-titled EP and the song swings with the late night energy and recklessness of gin joint during prohibition. The sextet builds smooth lines before exploding into stabbing horns and group shouted vocals on the chorus. They recreate the same big band energy and intensity on the opening track on the EP (Molly).

Thankfully though, the band is just as comfortable slowing things down, showing restraint and a soft touch. Advent starts with a jazzy intro, but even when Jesse Krause starts singing and the band starts swinging, the song is reeled in with terrific horn work. Feverish highs and surging pace are terrific, but when a band refuses to take a foot of the gas, it becomes hard to keep involved in the listen. Sparrows lets the listener catch a breath, and the measured, sophisticated cabaret pop song lets the band show off a bit of their classical training and mature song writing skills.

The band saves the biggest surprise until the end. Anthony Milton Quits his Job starts with some pseudo afrobeat horn work, but instead of exploding into the tribal beat you might expect, they explore a more modern, darker sound. The song constantly shifts shape - Krause’s vocals and the infectious xylophone offer up another quirky transition, as do the the Beatles-ish horn and drum work 2/3rds of the way through the track - and FFatHG playfulness teases the listener, but the biggest surprise is the funky Jaco-inspired bass line that picks up the last minute of the track, sending the EP hurdling towards the finish line with a well timed runners kick.

Posted at 8:56 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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