THE HUNCHES Looking for the rock? They have the rock!
The Hunches

Sun Jan 26


You hate the term "garage rock," don't you? You're sick to death of it. You can't stand the hype still being shoved down your throat, especially with all those 2002 wrap-ups we just endured. You're tired of Gideon Yago and Iann Robinson debating whether [insert band here] is "the real muthafuckin' deal" or "those posers slurping out of the garage trough." And you can't handle even one more instance of hearing about some so-called garage band being so goddamn great, only to finally give in, throw on the album, and be greeted by the dinky power chords and soulless drivel you expected in the first place.

You, my sensible friend, have a very simple bottom line: Either it rocks, or it sucks dog balls. There's no in-between--you have no tolerance for that half-assed crap anymore. And you don't care what sub-genre of which category it is. You just need someone to bring the rock. You want to be bashed over the head with it. You want rock to rip the metaphoric steering wheel from your paralyzed hands and steer you right into that metaphoric brick wall, the resulting explosion the only thing that could separate that blissful grin from the rest of your face.

The Hunches have the rock. They flatten their audiences with it like a B-1 bomber dropping its payload on a (suspected) Baghdad smallpox factory. The local foursome lugged their rock into the studio for their full-length debut, Yes. No. Shut It. (In the Red). Hell, I can't remember the last time I heard a young band so closely capture on album that dangling-above-the-chaotic-abyss-by-a-quickly-fraying-rope urgency and ferocity that only the best live shows can generate. It's the kind of disc that'll make the lights flicker in your shitty apartment whenever you play it. And when you get up to walk around, you'll feel like you're sliding in a pool of beer, sweat, cigarette butts, and spit, waiting for a lumbering body, broken guitar string, or splintered drumstick to fly in your direction.

"We did the whole album start to finish in like five days," says guitarist Chris Gunn. "There are some overdubs of noise, you know, some vacuum cleaners, some bangin' on metal, some extra guitar shit. But we wanted it to sound like it does live. And it came out pretty nasty--I don't think it's for everybody."

That's true. Maybe the Hunches' rock style is too much for some. Maybe some people don't have the cojones for the overdriven beatdown of Gunn's back-alley-mugger guitars, or Sarah Epstein's sucker-punching bass lines, or drummer Ben Spencer's clobbering, distorted rhythms. Certainly not singer Hart Gledhill's frenzied, spleen-and-pancreas-hurtling howls....

But I'd like to think you're fully equipped and eager to handle the Hunches' wallop--a raging sound that's undeniably influenced by the Stooges, yet further twisted and deformed by a love for Pussy Galore, Cheater Slicks, and Electric Eels. And even in the band's semi-prettier moments, when they offer a breather with "Same New Thing" or "The Ballad," they exhibit a kind of dark, primal, demented David Lynchian spirit similar to what characterized early Pixies recordings.

So how did this quartet ascend to such levels of greatness, garnering killer reviews across the board and a big enough fan base to warrant a U.S. and European tour this spring? Not by empty hype or jumping on trends (one spin of the album makes that clear), but by remembering what it was like when they first got bashed by the rock, and wanting to bring that same feeling to you.

"I saw Mudhoney when I was 12," says Epstein. "I went to arena buttrock shows with my mom, but Mudhoney was my first real show and it was fuckin' rad. I'd never been exposed to anything like that before. If I could do that for some kid or whoever, well fuck yeah!"

You want the rock. The Hunches have the rock. Check them out.