Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Album Review: "Someone You Used To Know" by Wylie Hunter & The Cazadores

Someone You Used To Know by Wylie Hunter &
The Cazadores was released on March 31, 2012
Wylie Hunter & The Cazadores wear their influences on their sleeves, the sounds of Springsteen, Petty, and Dylan all mesh together in the band's impressive full-length "Someone You Used To Know".  It's got to be daunting being compared to some of the greatest songwriters of all time, but Hunter & The Cazadores work in a similar fashion to these classics, they've heralded a minimalist style of rootsy rock n' roll with a heavy emphasis on lyrics that shine through brightly on this record.

While the band lacks the flare of the E Street Band, their lighter approach is satisfying in it's own light.  This collection of 9 tracks oozes with character, giving us a true sense of Wylie Hunter's own lifestyle, values, and experiences.  You can stream and/or purchase the album digitally via the band's Bandcamp.

Like I said earlier, it's easy to compare The Cazadores to Petty and Springsteen due to the driving rhythms and simplistic lyrics that oftentimes pack a heavy punch.  Opening track "On And Up" immediately captivates listeners with a softly picked intro followed by passionate vocals that touch on the ins and outs of life, love, and songwriting.  "Me I've got a song for all occasions, I've got songs of hope and happiness and doubt/But the ones that mean the most are those I wish I'd never wrote and the people I wish I'd never sung a note about".  As a songwriter that line grabs you by the throat, everyone who's written music can relate to this lyric because we all have those songs with topics that almost scare you to write about.  This lyric's sentiments can be echoed throughout the album, as Hunter is capable of taking his songwriting to that place deep inside that oftentimes can make you uncomfortable to talk or in this case sing about.  

However, while the band is capable of churning out meaningful and powerful songs they can just as easily produce a fun and upbeat song with grooving melodies and danceable instrumentation.  "Child of Summer" glides you through an easy listen that feels just like nostalgia with Hunter singing of "look[ing]  at the world in wonder".  However, sometimes the lyricism flounders a bit on tracks like "Tattoo'd Girls", the only track that seemed a little out of place.  "I used to dream that I was in a bar surrounded by tattoo'd girls...Now I play in bars all the time where everyones got a tattoo", it's a bit too bland and lacks the poeticism that the rest of the album has.  While the melody is driving and the chorus begs for a sing-a-long, some of the lyrics just don't meet par with the rest of the album.  

Lyricism aside, this album is just straight fun.  Songs can go from heartfelt and passionate to carefree and joyous.  "Crucify Me", found late in the album, combines the two elements with strong lyricism and a damn catchy hook.  Hunter's influences are clear, and while he doesn't necessarily stand among the greats like Petty and Springsteen that doesn't mean that this music isn't fit for the comparisons. This could have been released in the classic rock heyday and taken off with a bang, but the real joy in it is that the sound is timeless.  Wylie Hunter & The Cazadores have captured the essence of unfiltered rock n' roll music with an unapologetic sense of self, making no efforts to conceal his influences but rather embrace them.  Someone You Used To Know is a fantastic release that looks like it's going to be a real grower, it's full of rockin' gems that find themselves being more and more enjoyable upon each listen.

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