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Exit Dreams

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Album Review

Summoning a constant barrage of guitar-based noises occasionally bent to the form of a garage-style melody, the Hunches suggested what might have happened if Pussy Galore were willing to play actual songs, and not attempt to strip paint off your walls with sound on every number. The result was a band that could turn your ears inside out but somehow find a way to make you like it, and while the Hunches have chosen to call it quits, they most certainly go down swinging on their final studio effort, Exit Dreams. Released nearly five years after their second LP, Hobo Sunrise, Exit Dreams is a mighty fortress constructed from lo-fi sounds, an epochal achievement that conjures up a remarkable level of detail beneath the sheets of cheap guitars, crashing drums, and feral screaming. Producer and engineer Justin Higgins worked with the Hunches to give their songs a new level of depth, and while the adjectives "neat" or "clean" never enter the picture, this is certainly the most ambitious work the Hunches have released to date, with slabs of guitar lending an admirable sense of texture to the melodies, and a variety of found sounds (including dripping water and tea kettles whistling) adding a chaotic but forceful musical logic to the proceedings. Not all of this seems clear at first — on the surface, Exit Dreams is as aggressive and bludgeoning as anything this band has ever created, but if you're brave enough to poke beneath the veneer, "Ate My Teeth," "Unraveling," and "Pinwheel Spins" are remarkable studio constructs, and while noise takes precedence over melody on this album, "Not Invited," "From This Window," and "Swim Hole" show the Hunches could actually write tunes and have them make musical sense when they were of a mind. In a way it's a shame the Hunches raised the bar on their music with Exit Dreams, since they've made it clear there won't be a follow-up; at very least, they let the world know just what they were capable of before throwing in the towel, and with this album they walk away champs.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Specializing in epochal rock & roll noise in the grand tradition of the Velvet Underground, the Jesus & Mary Chain, and a guitar and amp being pushed down a flight of stairs while cranked up to ten, the Hunches were a band from Portland, Oregon who set new standards for energetic cacophony during their run in the 2000s. Guitarist Chris Gunn and lead vocalist Hart Gledhill first met when they were on the same little league team, and the two began making music together when they were in eighth grade....
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Exit Dreams, The Hunches
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