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Jana Hunter

Carrion EP

(Gnomonsong; US: 10 Sep 2007; UK: Available as import)

Unlike her pal Devendra Banhart, Jana Hunter often prefers to keep things simple, and her new Carrion EP is no exception to that rule. The disc is split between new material and some demos of older stuff, and the two groups mesh nicely. Opener “Paint a Babe” could be straight-ahead folk, if the guitar wasn’t filtered through hazy 60s psychedelic pop. And by soaking her voice in reverb, the song doesn’t float by so much as it trudges against a stiff wind. “A Goblin, A Goblin” is a little clearer, with the strings coming in to lift the song up inject it with an energy Hunter occasionally needs. Her earnest quiet can sometimes slip into something closer to mumbling dullness, and by amping up the instrumentation here and there, she manages to step around that problem. The demos act as a nice counterpoint, as they manage to sound even ghostlier than her already shudder-inducing folk songs. “Ooh Uuh” is particularly effective as Hunter tells us the demons are coming for us—and she sounds like she’s come to us in our beds, put her hand over our mouths, and is whispering the warning into our ear. Jana Hunter has hardly cornered the market on this brand of hushed folk, but she does it with an earnest delivery free of pretensions, and has a great ear for how to make the sparest of parts work.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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