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album review: huntronik, huntronik

I’ve got to be honest with you: when I get album review requests, I end up ignoring most of them. It’s not because I don’t think there’s good music out there begging to be reviewed (there’s a lot of good music out there, period), it’s really just more of a timing thing. PR companies typically send out detailed releases with a bunch of links and text that’s usually pretty overwhelming and/or I am at my full-time job so can’t spend endless hours on my gmail, watching YouTube (although that’d be great!). Ever since our new Music Editor Marissa started here at Lip, though, she does all the work for us and organizes the review requests by week, putting in only the most pertinent links and text.

That’s how I was able to quickly and easily spot Huntronik, the Brooklyn-based electronic/rock “power trio”. Their name piqued my curiosity, so I went to listen to their album Huntronik, not really sure what to expect. I am not the biggest electronic music fan, although I do have a special love for Daft Punk. Once through the album, though, and I was hooked. Huntronik’s quirky brand of electronic rock/”math rock” is something I haven’t really seen many bands, local or not, pull off so well.

One of the tags Huntronik uses to describe its music is Krautrock, an umbrella genre of German experimental rock popular during the late 60′s and early 70′s. The most famous band to come out of that movement, to me at least (probably because of that residency at MoMA they did last year), is Kraftwerk. Take a listen to Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn“, and you see clear influences on the Huntronik album: easy instrumental changes and methodic features, lyrics that don’t take themselves too seriously, and an overall melodic and catchy quality that makes the electronic music much less strange and much more accessible.

At times Huntronik’s electronic-based sound veers more towards psychadelic, at times more pop, at times hard rock, but it’s always catchy. The nine tracks on Huntronik progress quite nicely, and unlike a lot of albums, the music only gets better as it goes on. I enjoyed the middle part of the album the most. My favorite track is “Baldy” because it so accurately reflects all the different aspects of their sound, shows off the excellent production on the album and demonstrates their personality. That wonky bass line, marriage between garage rock guitar and mellow keyboards and lyrics tell me that Huntronik is super talented, but not one of those pretentious Brooklyn indie bands. Listening to this song over and over again, it seems like the band has a lot of fun. A quick visit to their Facebook page verifies this–going through their photo stream quickly shows the  humor and pop culture references that make sense with their sound. Immediately following “Baldy” is “Deeper Watts“, the first of the album’s melodic electronic mini-symphonies that definitely play homage to some of Huntronik’s influences, but are seamlessly strung together in a way that makes these songs completely original. The final song on the album, “Paradigm Shift“, follows suit. Rounding out the trifecta of middle-album-perfectness, there’s “Delivery Man“, which starts out harder and goes into a really catchy late Beatles-eque keyboard melody throughout the middle and end parts of the song.

Perhaps most of all, listening to Huntronik so much recently has made me remember that great music exists inside music of every genre. The band’s music isn’t something I would have thought I’d be so into even a month ago, but their music is catchy, fun and above all, done well. Take a listen and decide for yourself: Huntronik is available for free on Bandcamp.

By Christine Campbell

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