Jana Hunter: There's No Home

Jana Hunter
There's No Home

For all of last month's Live Earth hoopla and continent-spanning back-slapping, some artists have turned green quietly. Take the example of Houston-reared singer Jana Hunter, who last fall toured the East Coast in a small boat, saving on gas money while relying on wind power to take her from point to point. That she would be so unobtrusive and unassuming is but one of Hunter's traits. On her debut, Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom, she murmured into her two- and four-tracks, the results intimate, disheveled, shadowy.

Perhaps her time in the sunlight on that little bobbing vessel helped Hunter's outlook. On There's No Home, her second album for Devendra Banhart and Andy Cabic's well-curated Gnomonsong imprint, the reclusive darkness of Doom recedes, so that the threads of folk, country, and pop stitching together her music stand out. "Babies," with its chiming guitar and snappy snares, is buoyant and light (check the "ba ba ba"s on the chorus). This time out, Hunter set up in her friend's home studio for greater clarity and space. Rather than push her own striking voice—sometimes fragile and light, other times deep and dour (recalling Cat Power circa Moon Pix)—forward in the mix, she often melds it with the similarly low growls of bandmates Matthew Brownlie and John Hunter. Gender gets downright blurry on plaintive songs like "Palms" and "Recess." But as with any successful activist endeavor, everyone does their part.

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