“I was born without you, but I’ll take your hand” – I Am The Beast
Since late last year, after hearing When I feel Like Jesus’ Son The World Will Feel Much Different, I’ve been waiting for Dew Process to deliver on their promise and release Hunting by Ernest Ellis, so it was a (pleasant) surprise when I made an impromptu visit yesterday to my local music store and finally saw it sitting on the shelf – particularly as I’ve since confirmed that it (18th June) was the release date. Fate, eh?
The past few years, and particularly following the success of Bon Iver, there seems to have been no shortage of folk albums written during extended periods of self-imposed isolation – with much of Hunting written while secluded in a cabin in Australia’s Blue Mountains, I have a feeling the comparisons are going to be immediate and rife. Fair? Maybe; in some aspects they have a few things in common, but to simply label Hunting Australia’s answer to For Emma… would be lazily selling it short.
Much like the landscapes in the Blue Mountains, there’s wide open space populated with vast, diverse and sometimes distant scenery. The songs seem to have inherited that instinctive urge to stop for a moment to take in the magnitude of what surrounds us and compare it to the spaces a little closer to home. The result is an album centred with calm, pop-folk sensibility, and gently belies some of the darker themes that seem to arise in moments of introspective exploration.
The album draws on a variety of genres – with occasional trance-y or trip-hop beats, like in I Am The Beast (supplied by fellow Aussie composer Russell W), alt-country balladry such as in Valley Song, and some blues-rock in tracks like Bad Blood. The influences and sounds are diverse, but subtle enough to be pulled together into a distictively consistent and pleasing sound. Ernest Ellis may well be the beast, but as the above picture and this album would suggest, one with a fairly refined veneer.
For the uninitated or simply curious, it’s sure to appeal to fans of bands like My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, Phosphorescent, fellow Aussie folks Angus & Julia Stone and the aforementioned Bon Iver.
You can buy Hunting via the Dew Process store