Bay Area-based instrumental indie-folk outfit Hunters Chorus recently released their sophomore album, The Boy Ain’t Right. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jack Shirley at the Atomic Recording Studio in Oakland, California, the from-the-floor live recordings imbue the album with a palpable unprocessed quality.
Talking about the impromptu atmosphere of The Boy Ain’t Right, guitarist Ramon Fermin says, “I wanted this album to have a soft, organic, living room feel with all the funny little imperfections that come about in the process of just throwing it together.”
Piloted by Ramon Fermin (guitar, composer), the ensemble includes Elyse Ader (viola), Pat Murphy (bass), Hilary Lewis (violin), Ben Boye (piano, keyboards), and Jason Slota (drums). In 2018, Hunters Chorus released their debut album, Old Growler, followed by a 2020 single, “Arrows Over Broadway.” So far in 2021, Hunters Chorus has released three singles, “The Deal,” “Warpaint,” and “Lion Killer,” along with two live performance videos: Hunters Chorus Valentine’s Day Show 2021 and Live at the Atomic Garden, which was also released as an EP.
Encompassing seven tracks, the album begins with “Snaggletooth,” opening on a dazzling acoustic guitar flowing into a gorgeous melody accented by luscious viola and violin trimmings. A gentle, undulating rhythm gives the tune a warm, alluring cadence.
Ramon explains the song, “When I was writing this, I was spending a lot of time traveling around from city to city and felt like I was constantly hustling through airports, train stations, hotels, and venues, and living out of a suitcase. The feelings I was trying to draw upon were those of the comfort, quiet, and simple serenity of home life.”
From a purely subjective viewpoint, entry points include “The Deal,” shaded by darker coloration, as well as a more potent rhythmic aspect. Highlighted by the tender textures of the violin, the tune radiates suggestions of melancholic nostalgia. Building slowly, the song culminates in dynamic washes of intertwining filaments of color, bursting with sonic resonance.
A personal favorite, “Lion Killer,” surges on kaleidoscopic layers of coloration rippling with psychedelic textures. Whereas “Cottage Grove” rolls out on soft shimmers of gleaming guitars atop a low-slung, rumbling rhythm and polychromatic harmonics. Named after a street in Ramon’s hometown, the track teems with nostalgic memories.
The final track, “Sage,” featuring somber strings, exudes the emotions associated with the sad acceptance of loss and coming to terms with the vagaries of life.
Wonderfully wrought and textured with emotional hues, The Boy Ain’t Right delivers rich acoustic tones, at once warm and lush, under exquisite control.