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Van Hunt, The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets (Godless Hotspot Records)
CD Reviews: May 7, 2015

05/07/15
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Van Hunt, The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets (Godless Hotspot Records)

I remember reviewing this past Grammy nominee’s first LP 11 years ago, wondering to myself what his target market was. It sounded to me like a poor man’s Prince, in a way, a little dated and a little vanilla, a surprising signing for Capitol Records. But back then it was a big ego-bulging deal to me just to get freebies from big labels, so I found a few complimentary words and committed them to history. Time passed, as did Capitol pass on doing more with this guy, who then went on to a Blue Note record deal consisting of one LP that the label finally declined to release, a catastrophic blow that would have destroyed the careers of most guys. Turns out, however, that Van Hunt isn’t like most guys. He’s cobbled a subterranean head-drug funk-blues aesthetic that deserves a lot of earbuds plugging into it, something you’d actually expect from a 45-year-old who’s survived being thrown under the bus by two of the biggest labels in the world. A lot of this new record makes you think of hearing Smokey Robinson after someone smacked your head with a baseball bat — not all of it is danceable but a lot of it is. And bonus, since he’s indie now and has nothing left to lose, he can try things, like mixing Afrobeat with alt-rock and throwing in punk guitars for good measure (“Old Hat”). Turns out this antihero is a genius after all — hopefully he catches a break this time. A+ Eric W. Saeger





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