Hanterhir (acoustic)

Finn M’Couls, Thursday 26/10/17
I could write this review in 4 words “Excellent, go see them!” but as I have a whole screen in front of me I will wax just a bit more lyrical…

Hanterhir are a band that refuse to be put in a box, I have seen them oooh I don’t know how many times now and each time it feels like a different experience – possibly because their line up is so fluid and mutable. There are 6 members: Ben Harris (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Grant Kellow (bass, vocals), Jason Brown (drums, percussion), Peasy (guitar, vocals), Mike Hewitt (saxophone, keyboards, vocals) and Lou Piexinha (flute, vocals, violin, clarinet, shruti box and the rest…) and they play in many different combinations – sometimes a 6 piece, sometimes stripped back to just 3 or 4 so you never quite know what to expect. In addition to this their music is so wonderfully bizarre and eclectic! They steal elements from folk, psychedelic rock, prog rock, forest punk and jazz. Singing original compositions (they are much more than songs) in both Cornish and English they are exciting, unique and always deliver the goods.

Last night at Finn’s was a 5 piece line up (Peesy was missing) and it was an acoustic set with Jason being restrained to cajon instead of doing his normal wild man drumming. This more mellow version of Hanterhir allows the vocal harmonies (everyone sings except Jason) to really come into their own, the 3 backup voices blending together perfectly  and enriching the sound of the lead singer Ben’s already phenomenal voice. In addition to this Mike’s wild sax and Lou’s gentle flute weave together to add spellbinding colour. Not content with this however Lou also adds a range of other instruments from gypsy violin to the haunting drones of her shruti box.

Rock Opera coming soon!

One of the important announcements at the gig is that Hanterhir have finally finished their magnum opus, a rock Opera called  “The saving of Cadan”. This is due out on 3rd March on Easy Action Records as a cd or 5 sided vinyl release with a free download. A downloadable single will also be released in January, February and March with accompanying videos (which the band are working on at the moment).

I chatted to the band after the gig and got some more details: the album tells the tale of a heartbroken young man who throws himself into the lake at Carn Marth. A young maid who was cursed to spend her life in the lake, and drown anyone who sets foot in it, falls for the young man however because he willingly gave himself to her (the lake).  So it’s basically a love story, but one that goes terribly wrong as you’d expect with an opera.

The drive to create a rock opera apparently came from Jason (a big WHO fan) but has taken several years of hard work to be realised. The majority of the songs came together quickly but after Hanterhir had recorded about 75% of them there was a computer malfunction and the work was lost. Luckily the drum tracks had been recorded at Cabin Fever Audio so that helped when it came to starting again. They completed all the songs about nine months ago but were not happy with the original mastering and had to wait for it to be redone. They are currently filming the videos and apparently had an early start the morning after the gig, filming up on Carn Marth. with The Day-Light Group.

It sounds epic!

Review by Debi

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