Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Classic Hunt's "The Lyrids" EP will leave a mark on you

The Classic Hunt is a five piece alternative rock band based out of Philadelphia and their four track EP "The Lyrids" (despite it's brevity) leaves a mark. Whether that mark is a bruise or a heightened sense of being alive after having a brush with death I think you will feel something. That something might be laced with confusion, joy and even disgust. The lyrics stream out of Tyler Hayduk's plastique lips in a pushed beat poetry sort of way. Besides the proggy musicality of the songs, the poetically obtuse yet deeply aware lyrics, it is Hayduk's singing style that pulls you into the fray right away. Oddly enough or maybe not odd at all I thought of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Jello Biafra (the Dead Kennedys) or a blend thereof. Musically, the Classic Hunt plays with tones that are all over the place. The alt rock umbrella turned upside down holds folk, psychedelic rock, blues, post punk all blended in a dreamy meets proggy way. I swear that on the provocative track Back To Life I taste a hint of zydeco even.  The song feels like wanderlust on high, like a dizzy night of being seriously fucked up on strong intoxicants and being lost or maybe found. I couldn't help think of Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs and Van Morrison's Into The Mystic all at once. And while the beauty of the latter is traded for kissed obscenities on Back to Life there is a lot of beauty had too. The story rides and soars with a dense production and the rock flourishes are so damn moving. Let me say on a serious note that the refrain "I'm dying to fuck you back to life" left me torn and curious. Every possible alliteration aside within the context of the song it's meaning is up to you to interpret but references to Narcissus and more lead me to believe that it is a line said in the mirror and that the counter position of death and life is the point itself. In the end it is a desperately sad lyric.

I think those of us who like lyrics that hold more questions than answers will be drawn to this material. For me the center point of the album is Catalina. The drama starts right away with a stalking, mysterious bass line, staid drums on edge and pearly guitar rhythms that stair step up and back. Hayduk sings in a more forceful way while background vox sound more haunting. The song feels like a slow building crescendo with beautiful musical breaks but all the while you feel the eruption about to happen. When it does with stirring layers or lead guitars it feels like art rock theater like some dreamy blend of Built To Spill and Pink Floyd. On the track Sunflower For Rye there are head nods (to me) to classic rock like Led Zeppelin cleverly crafted, blended with a kind of Pere Ubu vibe. Simply, undeniably trippy and so very tasty. The last song Star Vultures might be the most "accessible" to most as it traverses both prog rock with an anthemic orchestrated sound at least until the end musical break as the band jams out in a wonderful sonic milieu of funk, rock and blues.

The Lyrids EP by The Classic Hunt is not (as they say) for the faint of heart. For those of you that it strikes a chord with you will find a wealth of sounds here to revel in. Each time you listen you will hear other nuances of sound and fury. I love the musicality on this album and the potent rock guitar. The expressiveness of the sound and lead work is so impressive. And, of course, I love the lyrical diatribes by Hayduk that even on their own stand out as challenging poetry. As with any great piece of music wrought by a band of people The Classic Hunt's sum of it's part is what make this outfit shine. My sense (although I do not know) is that the poetic center is Tyler Hayduk and that the band as a whole cross threads all their artistic visions together. Of course I can be completely wrong but whatever the case is The Classic Hunt is Tyler Hayduk (keys, guitar, lead vox), Brendan Burke (guitar), Andrew Haff (guitar), Jude Alvarez (bass) and Aaron Wolf (drums).

Robb Donker

NOTE: Be sure and go to the bandcamp page and to play the songs in the correct order.

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