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Hunger - Strictly From Hunger! (1969) review

Hunger “Strictly From Hunger!” (Public Records 1969)

Born in Portland, Oregon, Hunger eventually relocated to Los Angeles in search of bigger and better opportunities. The band released only one album during their rather short-lived existence, which unfortunately died a quick death. But as is the case with a lot of music that received piss-poor distribution and promotion the first time around, “Strictly From Hunger!” was rediscovered by a new generation of audiophiles years down the road. The disc has also been awarded the reissue treatment on a couple of occasions, and has gathered high praise in certain circles.

Comprised of all original material, “Strictly From Hunger!’ reveals the work of a band that remained true to a select sound and style. Although there is nothing too far out or radical going on here, the songs are catchy and the performances are inspired. Esoteric lyrics, evoking either metaphysical philosophies or magic mushroom induced visuals, are the order of the day. Psychedelic stained guitars interact nicely with wandering keyboards and energetic drumming, while the vocals and harmonies shimmer to a celestial nature.

An odd pairing of ghostly atmospherics and militant rhythms cements “Colors,” which gets “Strictly From Hunger” off to a compelling start. Peppered with phased effects, “Workshop” confirms to be an equally captivating shot of acid lavished shapes and commentary, where “Portland 69” clocks in as a rolling and roving instrumental set on the progressive rock side of the coin. Embodying a sunny pop position, “No Shame” glistens with spangle and jangle, and both “The Truth” and “She Let Him Continue” are sprinkled with a bit of  hard rocking blues angles. Mesmerizing and magnetizing, “Mind Machine” and “Trying To Make The Best” float and flow with genuine psychedelic textures and emotions. Stacked with potent melodies, in the moment jamming and nice arrangements, “Strictly From Hunger!” is a fine period piece.

The members of Hunger were vocalist Mike Lane, lead guitarist John Morton, rhythm guitarist Steve Hansen, bassist Tom Tanory, keyboardist Mike Parkinson and drummer Bill Daffern. Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist Ed King, who later reaped riches with Lynyrd Skynyrd, reportedly played with the band at some point as well. Such a connection arrives as no revelation, since a strong Strawberry Alarm Clock influence, especially in the poppier aspects of the record, is easy to detect. Traces of Iron Butterfly and the Doors can additionally be frequently identified, telling us Hunger definitely had good taste in music.

Review made by Beverly Paterson/2013
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