Peter and the Wolf

Record review

Texas Platters

Peter and the Wolf

Lightness (The Worker's Institute)

Lightness is Red Hunter's salty manifesto, tethered by the sea, the moon, owls, lost loves, and highways that never end. Recently signed to the Worker's Institute, which released Sigur Rós' last EP, this is the Austin indie songsmith's first release not on his Whiskey & Apples label. It relies on a larger metaphor, sea and travel serving as escapism; it's nature vs. nurture. Just check the first few songs: "The Ivy" is lazy, hazy, and beautiful; "Safe Travels" is a jaunty bit of folk; and the end of "My Grey Overcoat" crackles with city voices recorded on a hot summer day. A number of his songs tend to be hopeful, feel-good types, but his organic approach works on darker themes, as well. The electric "The Captain" and "Black Saltwater" are less traditional – the latter sounding awfully Waitsian – and they're a nice balance. "Silent Movies" and "Dear Old Robyn," from Hunter's self-titled summer release, still sound dusty and plaintive, haunted by the amber croon of fellow Wolf Dana Falconberry. For something recorded on the highways and byways of America, Lightness plays out quite cohesive. Let's just hope his days of impromptu cemetery performances and sailboat journeys aren't over.

***

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