Gordy Hunt carries on the grand tradition of Detroit rock music with his latest album release Mood Swings. If there are any remaining music fans who feel or think lively rock music is the providence of young men and women, Gordy Hunt’s music and songwriting stands as a sturdy rebuke to the notion. It’s evident from the first song “Just Can’t Leave Her”. He embraces a robust retro sound without it ever sounding clichéd or dated. Brass and organ provide the arrangement with lively punctuation marks and the addition of saxophone, in particular, helps accentuate the song’s melodic strengths.

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The album’s second cut “Make Out Music” has less obvious melodic value and a more overt guitar presence. The chorus, however, provides a peak moment for the track and Hunt’s obvious emotional investment in the vocal will win over many listeners. Relationships between men and women are one of the album’s dominant themes and Hunt has no issue with coming across as an unbridled romantic. “Point of View” is one of the more intelligent pieces included on Mood Swings and opens with some tasty bass playing before launching into the full arrangement. Many of the turns of phrase Hunt strikes on during the course of its lyric linger in the memory long after the song concludes.

“Wine Women and Song” is one of the more light hearted numbers present on Mood Swings, but do not mistake light hearted for facile. It has a rambunctious bluesy tone without ever overwhelming the listener and Hunt tinges his lyrics with the same personal, presumably autobiographical, touches characterizing much of the songwriting on this album. “Ransacked Hearts” is an indisputable high point on the release. Hunt deserves fulsome applause for a masterful lyric that places listeners in the center of its character’s lives and he depicts their marginal heartbreaking existence in unflinching fashion. The arrangement compliments the lyrical mood well.

“Waste of Time” is another notable moment. It sprawls a bit with a running time of nearly eight and a half minutes, but it’s time well spent rather than self indulgent. It harbors the album’s best lead guitar work and Hunt incorporates a number of climatic moments into the track while also shifting musical gears throughout in a fluid way. Acoustic guitar underlines the romping up-tempo pace of “Powerless” and there is an assortment of telling lyrical moments setting Hunt’s songwriting apart from the usual fare. Tracks like this provide examples of Hunt working well within the singer/songwriter genre, but these instances never come at the expense of the music.

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The penultimate track “A Woman’s Touch” opens with nothing more than Hunt’s voice and elegant piano accompaniment. The tempo picks up and other instruments soon enter the picture, but the core of the song remains Hunt’s vocal. He has an expert way of taking familiar time-tested phrases like the song title and utilizing them in emotionally revealing ways that gives them new life and meaning. The closing cut “Stomping Grounds” ends Mood Swings on an emphatic, yet inward looking, note. It’s another rousing performance in the mold of some of the earlier tracks on the album and, though regret shadows the lyrics, there’s a triumphant feeling permeating the track many listeners will respond to. It’s an ideal ending to a vigorous and intelligent album. Gordy Hunt’s Mood Swings earns its title – there are a lot of different emotions running through these songs and they resonate with anyone who has experienced life.

Nicole Killian

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