Monday, August 17, 2020

EP Review :: Johnny Hunter - Early Trauma


Johnny Hunter

Early Trauma

August 14 2020


Words: Linn Branson

There are lots of things that stand out about Australian post-punks Johnny Hunter, and the most prevalent of these is the sheer power and depth of Nick Hutt's baritone vocals; before your senses are even fully hit by the incendiary raft of brow-beating drums and guitars, they grip you in an aural lock-hold.

The five richly layered tracks on this debut EP, produced at Sydney’s A Sharp Recording Studio with ARIA-winning producer Adrian Breakspear, collectively don't even reach a total 20 minutes, but what is here is short, very sweet, unadulterated pleasure.

Opening with the biting torrent of 'Hollow Man', it breaks the record open with a sense of force, as Hutt's commanding presence swipes the floor over punchy drums. This is followed by the volcanic onslaught of 'Pain & Joy', rattling along at express train pace, full of uneasy angst.

Coming to 'Try As You May', we find one of three standouts on the EP. From its haunting opening chords to Hutt's fine baritone vocal and propulsive drumming and profusion of hi-hats, it is a hard to resist three minute, new wave/glam-pop bop that is urgent and immediate.

The band have described the song as "a cry for something better, a call for mercy and an honest admission to the fear of perpetual loneliness once a chapter finally comes to an end, try as you may to escape your pain, but once the escapism fades the only thing to do is dance in the purgatory you find yourself in.”

Lead single ‘Innocence Interrupted’ is a close runner-up, and serves as an example of the EP’s broader energy, emotional depth and a knack for storytelling, before the simply delicious 'Beautiful Dreamer' takes the pace down to the close, and is another winner that sounds better every hearing. It's a bit of a heart-tugger too, this Morrissey-esque ballad, and penetrates the other side of the Johnny Hunter soul.

There is not one bad track on this dark, triumphant EP. An anthemic post-glam delivery to induce a post-Covid-19 lockdown sense of euphoria badly needed.

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