I don’t know whether it’s because I’m still in Olympic-mode but safe to say UK quartet The Hunna have been quick out of the blocks. Debuting their first single last October, the high-octane rockers are releasing their debut album after less than a year. Their rise has been staggering. Not only have they put up huge streaming numbers with over 6 million plays on Spotify and nearly 5 million views on last month’s new video for “Bonfire” via their Facebook page but they continue to sell out shows no matter where they go; from London’s Boston Music Rooms to Musik & Frieden in Berlin and New York’s Mercury Lounge, thanks to their loyal army of fans affectionately called ‘The H-Squad’.
Emerging as one of the hottest rock acts in Britain, it is safe to say the album, simply titled 100 and set for release on August 26th via High Time Records, is highly anticipated. EUPHORIA. grabbed an exclusive look at the record and there’s plenty to be excited about – it stands at an immense 16-tracks long. To paraphrase Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for a track-by-track review. You wouldn’t read it and I wouldn’t write it. Moreover, college friends Ryan (vocals/guitar), Dan (lead guitar) and Jermaine (bass), and late arrival Jack (drums) have created something more than its separate, constituent parts. They have tried to provide a vehicle through which inhibitions are lost – 100 works on the pretence of being young, being free, and being whoever the hell you want to be. It is a faultless ambition and one that is carried throughout the record as a whole but overtly expressed most in penultimate track “Be Young” (ikr the title kinda gave it away).
The band’s unabashed sound goes hand in hand with the exuberance of youth. Album opener and fan favorite “Bonfire” is a class way to set the scene from the frantic guitar lines to the unrelenting percussion and beyond-human levels of energy in the vocals which carries through into “We Could Be.” The same can be said for another of their singles, “You and Me.” Whether platonic or otherwise, it acts as a heady and rip-roaring tale of inevitable camaraderie and adventure.
Despite saying I wasn’t going track by track, it is worth noting the song sandwiched in between that I am yet to mention. “She’s Casual” does end up with the same explosive rock sound at heart but it has a softer start as frontman Ryan gently ponders a girl. As the song builds into the second verse we learn more about his feelings: “And from the dark to the morning light she waits beside me and I know I’ll be alright. She’s all I want to see, she won’t ask why. I look in her eyes, I think I’ve been looking for you all my life.” This softer side makes a reappearance in ballad-y “Sycamore Tree.” It’s the closest you’ll get to an acoustic song despite all of the band being involved in the swaggering serenade.
Having caught our breath slightly the album eases back in with the empowering “Still Got Blood” with its rallying call to arms and enduring will to persevere before hitting the murky depths of grunge-fueled “Bad For You,” an uncharacteristically melancholy addition to proceedings. One thing that struck me throughout the 16 tracks is the confidence that oozes from every note, every word, every drum beat, something perfectly captured by album closer “Rock My Way” and the equally self-assured “World Is Ours.” Also a quick honorable mention to “Piece By Piece” for a truly gorgeous melding of guitar and vocal melodies but I’m just about done.
I’m cautious about overstating the importance of 100 in the grand scheme of things. I doubt it’ll make much of a mark in the music annals of the future but that doesn’t matter. In the true spirit of The Hunna, what does matter is now and right now this record is going to speak to a lot of people. I’ve been bowled over by the messages the songs have and their impeccable no-holds-barred execution. It is undoubtedly cliché – an album not only about being young but also being an individual, feeling alive, falling in love, staying out late and going on adventures… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! 100 is musical escapism and juvenile nostalgia at its finest with a heavy indie aesthetic to boot so if you are ever invited to “come take shade under the leaves of the Hunna Tree,” just roll with it. The album is available to pre-order here.
A proud Mancunian who grew a beard through laziness more than fashion consciousness but it works either way. After starting his own blog in 2012, he spent three years hosting an award winning radio show and became a senior editor at EUPHORIA.