Stimulus: Shane Hunt – Another Awkward Silence between Friends
It’s been well established that I’m rarely a friend of the acoustic guitar. This isn’t due to any structural defect of the instrument or any criticism of the sound it makes (on sheer annoyance, I usually go with brass instruments). To be blunt, it comes from the legion of white boys who master a chord or two and feel empowered to rain proto-sensitivity all over the rest of us at the party. While I’ve found exceptions to the rule, the rule still stands, and I remain distrustful of most people who pick up a hollow six-string.
What sets Shane Hunt apart from his acoustic-plucking peers is the force and range of his voice, qualities which punch his songs of love and loss up a notch. The guitar playing and lyricism on his new EP are at worst quite serviceable, but the singing on Another Awkward Silence is what keeps his music from getting lost in the singer-songwriter shuffle. There are a few moments when Hunt’s voice breaches the barrier between poignant and pubescent – particularly in the chorus of “Just another Star-Crossed Tragedy,” a subdued song which just didn’t grab me – yet these moments are rare.
Hunt’s finest moment on Another Awkward Silence is his comparatively poppy opening track, “Serendipity Doo-Dah.” Like a few of the tracks, the opener features a little backing bass to propel the music along, and this one has the added benefit of a backup singer. The best lyrics of the collection are also found here, with lines like “You are the greatest thing that never happened to me” sure to catch in the listener’s brain. The sum total is a track in which everything comes together just right.
The final three tracks buoy the EP with various shades of romantic longing. “Revolver” is a fast-paced tune about an uneven romance in which the short straw ponders the turning of tables. “Undone” is the collection’s second best, a sad, pretty song which features some of Hunt’s best guitar work on display. The end comes in “Spin,” which is a pretty standard uptempo acoustic guitar song. It’s not as captivating as some of the better songs, but it’s not at all unlistenable, either.
While there are a few moments on Another Awkward Silence which fall prey to the usual conventions, most of the music is quite diverse and attractive. Which brings up the big question: what could Shane Hunt do on a full-length?
You win this round, acoustic guitar. But keep your nose clean.