Until the Hunter offers a medley of soft rock, surf guitar, blues chords, and spanish guitar. Hope Sandoval’s voice has lots of room to explore its truth and with the musical stylings of Colm Ó Cíosóig, this acid folk/blues/indie album provides a meditative backdrop for a rainy autumn.
“Into the Trees” draws us into the album with hypnotic vocals and illuminates like a dreamy dawn. Distressed chords, and echoing vocals create a haunted vibe. The repetition of lines like “When will you come back to us” and “We miss you” take on an eerie, holy chanting feeling. This feeling is sealed in with lines like “The fate awaits me.” The progression of the song devolves into a kind of fever dream, stream of consciousness with a rolling beat. This type of non-linear exploration of emotion is a strong suit for Hope Sandoval and The Warm Interventions and also shows up in “Salt of the Sea” and “Liquid Lady.”
Stretching into a few other genres, “The Peasant” shifts into more uptempo folk with surf guitar and “A Wonderful Seed” showcases a Spanish guitar sound with a fairy tale narrative lyrically-“The devil made his way.” Hope Sandoval and The Warm Interventions expertly demonstrate their justified confidence in a range of styles.
“Let Me Get There” is a standout-a truly captivating call and response with Kurt Vile who said, “It was a total honor to sing along to a beautifully hypnotic soul groove with heavyweights like Hope, Colm, and all the other top notch musos. To respond to Hope’s call in song of letting her get there felt right and real and gave me chills while singing, even though I knew they already got there years before I walked in the building.” This down tempo soft rock duet keeps a steady pace while thoughtfully navigating an emotional dialogue between two parties with an involved history- “It was always our story if you forgot / Everything we say we have to own up.” The music and lyrics combine into a force of heartbreaking palpable tenderness: lines like “Did you feel lonely remembering his face looking away?” and “Not all the things that you gain can be possessed” chill the bones yet soothe the soul.
The next two songs “Day Disguise” and “Treasure” follow the same soft melody and crooning voice equation and “Treasure” feels a bit redundant but it does concoct a feeling of walking upon a placid lake- not meaning to disturb the waters, just mirroring the moment of the atmosphere in a musically meaningful way. The rest of the album explores many other emotions with Hope Sandoval’s decisive voice- pain, yearning, contemplation, exhilaration, wanting to escape. Each song on this album puts something at stake- leaves something on the table.
Reviewed by Callie Hitchcock