Hunters Collect Their Due

Positive Canadian Human Frailty era article.

Author: Wilder Penfield III, The Toronto Sun.

Date: 29 November 1986.

Original URL: N/A


Article Text

Pssst: – The other band that matters in Australia is Hunters & Collectors, who crowded RPM this week and made a convincing case for their readiness, willingness and ability to amass a mass appeal.

Without compromise. Think U2, or the Clash at their best.

Like their slightly less obscure breathren in Midnight Oil, they are inspiring – moral as well as musical, more motivated by imagination than my image.

The evolving sextet is now two trios welded together with dynamics and tension.

One is a hard driven, working-class guitar-bass-and-drums barband, their smarts transmuted by urgent feeling and swear.

The other is a late-romantic tea mwith the barogue sound of trumpet, trombone and french horn; it doubles the melody, quadruples the harmony, reinforces the bite of the lyrics, causes choruses to surge with emotion. Sometimes it gets downright orchestral with supplementary synths.

Without ever disengaging the drive.

The drives and the brasses are equal partners – and surprisingly independent instrumentalits. However, singer Mark Seymour is the boss, and could be the Boss. Or Bono, if U2 had more subtelty and sting. Or Sting, if his brooding were more bitter and his acting less refined.

Seymour’s force is artful. It is also natural. His guitar slash breaks strings, his wailing tears throat. But the notes he sings are true, and this words he writes have truth – and deliverately vulgarity, and spontaneous vitality.

Without ever losing an eagerness to make a difference.

And there will be no release from anguish
For his slapstick generation
And there be no peace for all the kiddies
‘Cause they’re too satisfied to care
And the field of gorgeous bodies
Primed and ready in the sun
And the white flag of peace
That is hanging
Limp and useless in the air

And if sleeping brings reliefe
You can all go lie down and slumber

We won’t see Hunters & Collectors again until spring. But they were here to support Human Frailty, which happens to be among the least frail, most human rock albums of the year.

Sure, you had to be there, but if you dind’t have to be there, then you’re missing out on a powerful experience that is available at your favourite (large) record store today.

So to all you feelers and fumblers
Waiting for the fireworks to start
Do it now – blow it up yourself
Unbotton the butcher in your heart