There is a lot that Tuscon, Arizona, heavy psych rockers Young Hunter do right on their self-released 2012 debut full-length, Stone Tools. Foremost, tone. The seven-piece band nail glowing-tube tonal warmth in their guitars and bass — and rightfully so to go along with open, laid back grooves, perfect for the post-Cisneros folk-harmony vocals that only add to the classic vibing and airy atmospherics. For a comparison point, Across Tundras revel in a similar big-sky ritualism, but Young Hunter let you hear more of the vibrating cones in their cabs and the material feels more specifically of its desert home for it. Arbouretum also covered some of this hard ground on their underrated 2011 outing, The Gathering.
Stone Tools opens strong with “The Harbinger.” Aside from earning immediate points for being the longest track on the album, Young Hunter‘s leadoff introduces the multi-singer vocals and I don’t even know how many layers of guitar. Info on personnel is vague at best (they’re on Thee Facebooks here), but the sound is full enough to make seven players believable, and even as the subsequent “Young Leaves on Ancient Branches” and “Cities of Black Mesa” get more aggressive — the latter’s opening riff could easily pass for black metal as much as anything Wolves in the Throne Room did on their first album, though they soon bring in a smoked-out psych blues coo — Young Hunter hold to a sense of pastoral bliss. It’s the desert at night, echoing canyons, an infinity of stars, lonely, but the dirt on the ground is still hot on the bottoms of your bare feet.
So what’s the holdup on my overly image-based slathering of appreciation? Mostly the mix. The vocals initially come through too high and while obviously the organic recording adds to the effectiveness of Stone Tools overall and by the time “Black Candles” comes on I’ve forgotten these and several other woes in favor of Young Hunter‘s sweet ritualizing, there are still some pieces of the songs that pull you out of the overarching hypnotic effect in ways that don’t seem purposeful.
That said, Stone Tools follows a 2011 tape release called Children of a Hungry World and is Young Hunter‘s first record, so that they’d give the impression of still getting their bearings isn’t really all that surprising. More to the point, I dig Stone Tools as it is and thought I’d post it here in case you might do the same. The band have a couple shows coming up in Tuscon and I don’t know what their plans are after that, if they’ll get to work on a follow-up to Stone Tools or what, but the kind of desert reverie they put into “Drought,” I can’t imagine it’ll be too long before they answer back with another release. In the meantime, Stone Tools is available on the dirt cheap from their Bandcamp page in a screenprinted sleeve that comes with an awesome-looking poster, as seen above.
Here’s the full stream of the album:Tags: Heavy psych, Stone Tools, stoner rock, Unsigned bands, Young Hunter, Young Hunter Arizona, Young Hunter band, Young Hunter psych, Young Hunter Stone Tools, Young Hunter stoner, Young Hunter Tuscon