Words by Ed King / Pics courtesy of Hunger Moon
On Monday 12th March, Hunger Moon release their debut single ‘Oh Friend’ – wasting precious little time for a band that only formed at the tail end of last year, ‘deep in the heart of Birmingham’s warehouse and creative quarter’.
Out now and ‘available to stream on all major music platforms’, you can always make your own minds up with a quick visit to Soundcloud, Spotify or iTunes. Hunger Moon will also be supporting Joseph J. Jones at The Sunflower Lounge on Tuesday 13th March, if you wanted to check this out live and firsthand – for direct gig info, click here.
But who need independent thought or travel? Sit back, make yourself a cup of tea, look wistfully at rain, and let Birmingham Review do all the cognitive reasoning. Ssshhhh, there there… We’ll tell you.
But first a bit of background… Hunger Moon are the newly formed two piece from vocalist Natalie Jenkins and multi instrumentalist James Atwood, with a sound that draws immediate comparisons to London Grammar and Daughter. Their debut single, ‘Oh Friend’, had Ryan Pinson working behind the glass – with the skeleton written and rehearsed in Digbeth, and the skin produced at RML Studios in Wolverhampton. So, there’s a pretty solid start.
In the words of Hunger Moon, ‘Oh Friend is an ode to companionship, which has been the single constant within the lives of the duo over the past year throughout changes, some for better and others for worse’ and you get an immediate sense of longing, loss, or both.
Mournful yet comforting, ‘Oh Friend’ opens with an echoed guitar riff that is the linchpin to the Daughter comparison. Then after about 15 seconds, Jenkins’ vocals power though with the titular lyrics and ushering in the London Grammar comparison. This low cloud rolls across the horizon, with some ‘soft piano nuances and subtle electronics’ nudging their way in towards the end of Minute #1, before the instrumentation steps back leaving Jenkins’ vocals to introduce the first crescendo towards the end of Minute #2. A silent thunderclap… and downpour, with the emotional ebb and flow continuing in layers until the end of this nearly 5min single.
There is a beautiful proficiency to ‘Oh Friend’, with a confident subtly propelling an addictive melody. It’s not an easy sound to deliver well, and Hunger Moon have taken some bold steps down a road that is full of homage and potholes. But superbly handled by Ryan Pinson, the delicate strength that this genre requires is given its appropriate balance here. Plus, it could have been easily clipped to make it more radio (length) friendly but in fact saves the best minute for last.
As debuts go, ‘Oh Friend’ is solid introduction, managing to find a new corner of the electro/pop shadows to lurk in. The melody is rife too, which bodes well for an album of material to wrap around it – an LP we sincerely hope is on its way. But if we were to find one piece of constructive criticism, as is our job, it would be that the strength of Jenkins’ vocals can sometimes be a little, a small touch on the desk perhaps, too much in the lead. And to jump back to the two previous comparisons, one of these bands falls into this trap too, whist the other nails it perfectly on its perfect nail shaped head.
So, this is a little par for the course for the genre, kinda sorta. And having a strong asset in your box of musical tricks is one of those better problems to have. But for the first foray for Hunger Moon, ‘Oh Friend’ is cracking introduction from a band we have a sneaking suspicion have a lot more to offer over the next twelve months.
‘Oh Friend’ – Hunger Moon
Hunger Moon release their debut single, ‘Oh Friend’, on Monday 12th March – available through all major music platforms.
Hunger Moon will also be performing at The Sunflower Lounge on Tuesday 13th March, supporting Joseph J. Jones – for direct gig information, click here.
For more on Hunger Moon, including links to stream ‘Oh Friend’, visit www.facebook.com/hungermoonmusic