Riding a surge of momentum fresh off of their recent appearances on the Showtime TV series, The Real L Word, Hunter Valentine has exploded onto the rock scene with their latest power-packed release Collide and Conquer. These three Canadian women continue to grow musically on this, their third release.
Make no mistake, this is not your typical chick rock. The threesome tears through eleven cuts that grab you by the ears and force you to take notice. It’s good, tough rock that demands airplay. Hunter Valentine has a unique sound that sometimes reminds of a more muscular No Doubt and occasionally conjures up comparisons to Nancy Wilson and Courtney Love, but these women and their talented singer Kiyomi McCloskey truly have their own sound.
From the opening notes of the power rocker “Liar Liar” we’re captured by creative guitar, hard driving drums and aggressive bass. It’s a tried and true recipe for power rock music success and a bit refreshing in today’s synth-dominated landscape. It’s even more refreshing to have this sound paired with an intriguing female threesome. “Liar Liar,” the first song is a gritty rock track with addictive guitar riffs and edgy vocals. Good stuff and a great way to kick off the album.
Talented Canadian producer Greig Nori, of Iggy Pop and Sum 41 fame, does a superb job weaving between McCloskey’s hard-edged vocals and the band’s layered melodies, all interspersed with a gritty musical backdrop. It’s a diverse mix that for the most part works extremely well. There are a few tracks that are uninspiring, but they are far outweighed by creative, hard-driving rockers.
I enjoyed the edgier tracks, but suspect the majority of listeners will gravitate to the more mainstream tracks, such as the hit-waiting-to-happen “The Bull Rides Tonight.” It’s reminiscent of so many great arena rockers from the late eighties, and could be a hit in any generation, including today. “Nowhere to Run” is another cut along the same vein, a little too saccharine for my liking, but a cut that will probably appeal to the masses.
“Little Curse (Shit Happens)” is an excellent tune. It has a great power rock sound, fantastic drums from Laura Petracca and some of McCloskey edgiest vocals. I also found myself drawn to the upbeat bouncy sounds of “Priscilla,” a fun listen and a bit different from anything else on the album.
All told, Collide and Conquer is a refreshing, gritty release certainly worthy of a listen. Check it out below, and grab a copy on iTunes.