Music Review: Andrew Hunter & the Gatherers – Warhorses

“The twin peaks of the Halifax guitar rock scene are Matt Mays and Joel Plaskett, Mays harder and Plaskett more thoughtful and indie and pop-based. The new album by the trio of Hunter and Gatherers (great, great name) sees them skirt nicely down the middle, giving us lots of power trio to enjoy for our visceral side, and melody for the brain. The sound is more straightforward and rocking than fans will remember, but it’s a natural progression, as the group strips it back and gets to a core sound. Plus, Florenceville, NB native Hunter has written a grand group of tunes, featuring nothing else but guitar-drums-bass-vocals.

This is an economical blast of passion, with 32 minutes split among 8 songs, plus an acoustic version of one of them repeated to soften things out at the end. Hopefully you’ve been hearing One Good Reason around, a typically infectious, big guitar number, but there are several songs here that you could say the same for, all of them top flight. Lead cut Your Heart Don’t Know has the chords and bass recorded at near-grunge level, and you know that one will be blasting off the walls of Eastern Canada’s finest rock clubs as the trio heads out on the album release tour. It has a fist-pumping, lyric chanting chorus, just the title repeated. If that isn’t enough to get the blood pumping, the new single, Run For Cover, doubles the tempo and explodes with more chiming chords and choruses. That’s a heck of a 1-2-3 punch to open the disc.

The fourth cut, Remember, lets us take a break, slowing down but not losing the intensity, with still lots of heavy guitar, a Crazy Horse ballad. Next comes Burn To Fade, moving us back into uptempo mode, softer and more jaunty this time. It’s one of those discs that works great on repeat, because each time through, I just keep liking the songs more. This, to me, is what a rock and roll record is supposed to be, and it’s been awhile since I’ve felt that way.”

CBC’s Bob Mersereau , Author, Top 100 Canadian Albums, Top 100 Canadian Singles