Melbourne’s Hunting Season don’t sound fully Australian, or at least Australian right now, even though they’re playing in that very fertile field of dreamy Aussie indie-rock. They sound… Pacific North-Western if anything. Their EP Lost Forever is perhaps not even quite of the 2010s. There’s a very clear pop-punk overtone to the EP, but a clarity and light to the composition that is far more indie, and a rhythm section that feels like folk. It sounds very Death Cab For Cutie, actually, especially the post-Plans Death Cab.
The opening track, ‘Carved In Stone’ is especially reminiscent of ‘Black Sun’, off of Death Cab’s most recent album Kinstugi. It’s like a travelling song – it’s got pace and direction and a pointed, almost sinister heart to it that makes an otherwise clear, upbeat song seem somehow subtler. It’s a good (if not entirely revolutionary) start to Lost Forever.
The title track of the EP, on the other hand, is less impressive. It’s not bad, and the retro synths at the beginning are a fun lead-in, but it seems lackluster. It doesn’t have the same drive or direction as ‘Carved In Stone’, and it feels like a bit of a let down. Hunting Season are better when they take their foot off the break a bit.
The finale two songs on Lost Forever – ‘Be Bold, Be Strong’ and ‘Hold On Tight’ – stick closer to ‘Lost Forever’ than ‘Carved In Stone’, but they’re both better somehow. ‘Be Bold, Be Strong’ holds together better. The quiet instrumental parts feel well thought out, deliberate and ponderous. ‘Hold On Tight’ kind of meets the other three songs in the middle. It has the same kind of intensity as ‘Carved In Stone’, backed up by a slick lead guitar part – it feels a little bit Silversun Pickups. The whole EP has a very clear Silversun Pickups influence, actually. It’s nice, it feels familiar yet fresh.
Lost Forever is a well-done EP. It’s not groundbreaking, but it sounds different enough from a lot of what’s being made in Australia right now that it feels refreshing. Hunting Season are worth keeping an eye on, as it looks like they might be good at finding that balance between commercially and sincerity that makes for a band with the potential for widespread appeal. And they’re good, there’s definitely that too.
Review Score: 7.7 out of 10
Lost Forever is out now.