Recommendation: The Hunches “Exit Dreams”

This write-up is a necessity because I’ve just listened to a life-changing record. It’s The Hunches final album Exit Dreams released in 2009 on, here goes, my favorite label: In The Red Records. I ordered the CD a few weeks ago (no mo’ vinyl, at least not through the label) and it arrived last week. My previous experience listening to The Hunches was sort of here and there and I’m thinking Pandora had something to do with that. I’ve heard of their reputation as the greatest band, not really sure from where. That is pretty accurate though. Listening to this comes at a perfect time ’cause I’ve been absorbing plenty of bizarre noisy pop. I’ll credit this recent spell to finding the band Eat Skull and buying their record.

The situation with Eat Skull, The Hunches, and Girls of the Gravitron (can’t name drop this no-more Memphis group enough, one of my very very favorites) is that the music and the instrumentation is mad expansive and not ya average rock ‘n roll or garage. These crews make even the greatest of the greatest that we KLYAMers champion seem a bit dull. And yes, that sentence creeps me out as much as you’re probably thinking. The Hunches and the other bands I just mentioned have some slow movers in their catalog with overt pop elements – these usually are standouts and favorites. But the harder to digest distorted multi-layer guitar and feedback explosions sound like perfect accidents to me. Exit Dreams is filled to the brim with these moments where I’m like yo this could be Pixies, Pavement, Velvet Underground and I love all three of those so that’s great. BUT there’s much more subversive playing and truly unexpected change-ups with The Hunches here. There’s no sympathy to any style and ‘garage’ is a tag that probably does this a bunch of disservice given the terrain this disc covers. I also can’t really identify a lot of unity in how this was recorded; some tracks are really brutal and upfront (this is a way positive comment), others sound comparatively immaculate. So, major props to how this was mixed and mastered.

If you want to listen to a record that is the opposite of stale and safe, this here Exit Dreams is choice. I’m not saying it’s the most experimental record, but I really love it for its playfulness. It’s not happy or optimistic really, sort of the opposite. It fits where the band was at its time, for whatever reason, on the brink of collapse with not a care in the world. I listen to this and get that feeling that ya, we can move beyond present or past uncertainties and situations. the noise and clutter are haunting and personal, but the catchy and familiar vibes win out and save the day. All is well, but it’s a trip for sure.

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