SINGLE REVIEW: Sydney by Hunter Deblanc
Hunter Deblanc is an Australian music artist who’s been putting out records since 2014. What began as a piano-heavy rock orientated project, Hunter’s style has now been finely honed to the essentials of adult alternative indie pop; electro-based grooves, bubbly synths and textures underpinning soul-searching lyrics, reminiscent of any of the more spirited singles by Foster the People, Owl City or The 1975. And let’s not forget the funk-edged guitars and chants. It’s all here. From the opening piano riff, nicely compressed so it sounds toy-like, an ethereal signpost to what’s coming, to the opening line from Hunter, ‘Forgive me,’ we know we’re in for an interesting ride. Lyrically, those opening words could be used to sum up the gist of the song’s sentiment, it’s a little confessional, outlined is an admission of yearning, and desire, of course, which the energy of the production helps sustain. It might sound as effervescent a sound as you’re likely to hear, and it is, and effortlessly realised, but the melancholic flavour inherent in this communicated desire does a nice balancing job, keeping it a good distance from overwrought pop. Hunter’s use of Sydney as a backdrop to the lyric’s undisguised content proves that a local city can be name-checked without any degree of negativity, and more surprisingly, any loss of power. It feels right that Sydney is harnessed in the same way a city such as New York might be. Perhaps what creates this endearing quality is Hunter’s voice, earnest and emo-tinged but utterly believable. A few home-grown comparisons come to mind during subsequent listens to Sydney, most notably Savage Garden and INXS, but Hunter’s sound is a sort of progressive hybrid of these two Australian music stalwarts; it’s somewhere in between them, and that’s obviously a clear advantage when it comes to radio play, but very much in its own place. This release should have no trouble finding a broad audience who are ready for some self-referential indie pop, who’ll be absentmindedly singing along to those shout-outs to Sydney, too seduced by the song and sound to realise they’re doing it.
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