Leeds Music Scene

For Adults and Brave Children by Shaun T Hunter

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Reviewed on 22nd June 2004.

 
 

For Adults and Brave Children

By Shaun T Hunter

Shaun T. Hunter has an album on his own label called "For Adults and Brave Children". He has sent 6 of its 15 tracks for review.

They are expertly performed and well recorded. Shaun's general approach is to set story songs into a gentle setting with acoustic guitar and unobtrusive bass, drums, electric guitars keyboards and backing vocals. The lightest of strings appear when needed. The parts are all much less than the whole and resist detailed listening. Each strum, beat, harmony or line has come from the bank of dependables that have embellished easy listening soft rock music for two or three decades. Most of us raggedy rock and stumble musicians simply couldn't hack it at this level. Shaun's voice is good too. He purrs, whispers and sometime goes a little husky and poignant. He's note perfect and his tunes are convincing and stable.

So what's the motivation? The package expresses deep love of the musical process, with lingering shots of eq pots, tape rollers, speakers and lyric sheets. The lavish attention to the detail of production and the meticulously balanced arrangements are not simply calculated to smooth a passage to Radio 2. He really loves this stuff. A full-colour glossy-printed 12 page booklet of lyrics gives the deeper game away. Hunter has stories to tell, and he does want to spread his word. His diction is good and the voice is given pride of place in the mix. So the words are first and last.

They are in the Taupin/McLean/Rice (Tim, not Damien) tradition of intensely written and meaningful stories. To my ears they have a leaden obviousness that puts them right out of contention. But I know that current trends favour the direct and the unsubtle, and there will be plenty of customers for lines like "She's hot black coffee at the end of the day / And when she gets horny the sound of a / porsche would make". Personally the combination of emotional indulgence and sloppy syntax just makes my toes curl. Or how about ""The sky give birth to sadness / A cloud is falling down / A melancholic bubble who's painted on a frown". These are disjointed words thrown in the general direction of something true, but which depend on close personal empathy before they can mean anything. The soft and smooth music will assure that empathy for many people and Shaun T. Hunter could easily be a big star. At that point, readers of Leeds Music Scene would probably be keen to keep their distance.

 

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On 22nd June 2004 at 12:29 Anonymous 1714 wrote...

I've seen this guy live. Very good

 

On 22nd June 2004 at 13:19 Anonymous 2538 wrote...

You can see him again if you like openning the Tea Time Shuffle next Friday (2nd), he'll be on at about 6.40pm at the HiFi with D'juba, Serf, Pierpoint and Ric Neale following him in that order

 

On 23rd June 2004 at 12:53 Anonymous 2771 wrote...

Seen Mr Hunter live too...and he really is a star. The album shows one side of his music, and yes it's obviously well-produced, 'glossy' even...but what's wrong with that? Personally, I'd prefer that to yet *ANOTHER* badly produced demo full of cliches both lyrically and musically - with drums sounding like they've been played on a can of Heinz 57 varieties and guitars sounding like they were recorded 20 miles away. Dunno how you can say the lyrics are leaden or obvious...but it's all a matter of taste I suppose. Live, it's just him pouring his heart out up on stage - with some beautiful harmonies from his on-stage companion (sorry, don't know his name). It makes a change from a lot of the stuff that's kickin' around now. I suppose if people don't want to hear subtly told stories, with a cool backing then they need not apply here...but thank god somebody's around to do this sorta stuff. Oh, and before you ask...I can't stand Radio 2!!!

 

On 23rd June 2004 at 16:19 Anonymous 2776 wrote...

getting better and better his anger and angst is fuelling the creative juices.... a blinding fusion of feel bad / good styles

 

On 6th July 2004 at 13:16 Anonymous 2789 wrote...

Well i've seen 'em come and go,reviews that is!! yeah a cool 4 stars in a wild begrudging fashion, the one accusation i've never heard levelled are "these lyrics are obvious to my ears"...maybe sam & i were separated at birth...he knows my every calculated move..it's in the air, a scent of collusion between us!! Hey it's what keeps this biz interesting,peoples opinions good, bad & indifferent and everyone's an authority..i'm flattered you put me in the taupin,mclean and rice(tim not damien of course!!) school of writing..they may not be cool but hell they can paint masterstrokes with a pen and paper.Anyway you can catch myself live in leeds @ the grove songwriters circle, fri july 16th, The cockpit Thurs Aug 5th & Sept 30th respectively...for furthur info go to www.shaunthunter.com where you can purchase current album 'for adults and brave children' along with lots of other pertinent and not so pertinent info...that's just me i used to write very very very long essays at school,you're getting the picture.."shaun a story is beginning, middle, end not just middle middle middle"....ah i digress,hope to see you all out there at a gig! shaun t hunter

 
 
 

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