Raine Maida
The Hunters Lullaby


4.5
superb

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
December 31st, 2007 | 21 replies | 8,827 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Hunters Lullaby is more consistently brilliant than anything Maida has produced this century

Simplicity is the ethic behind Raine Maida’s debut record The Hunters Lullaby, and the complex ethical challenges of modern life its dominant theme. Never a typical activist singer, Maida’s first foray outside heavy rock is anything but a typical protest album. He does protest, and occasionally condemns, but there’s no single issue or common enemy. In a rapidly changing world, every man’s ethical struggle is his own, and no millionaire rock star is more privy to the correct answers than the rest of us. If there’s one central message that can be drawn from The Hunters Lullaby, it’s that living the “right way” will never be easy, if possible at all, and it’s an important distinction to draw before tossing the record carelessly in the American Idiot pile.

The music, too, is difficult to reconcile with what we’ve come to expect from the multi-talented singer. In place of the standard four-minute alternative rock song with all the quiets, louds and catharses that implies, The Hunters Lullaby’s ten tracks are lean and uncluttered, sparse arrangements making use of only acoustic instruments. Raine uses the reclaimed space to shift the focus back upon his lyrics, which are more focused and still yet more universal than most of his Our Lady Peace output, allowing him to use the deeper, less expressive voice he’s cultivated in recent years. The words more closely resemble poems than lyrics, a welcome by-product of his newfound obsession with slam poetry, and though it makes for a less obviously melodic offering, any shortcomings are made up by the quality of the material.

While it would be easy to overstate the prevalence of slam-type vocalising on The Hunters Lullaby, it is the one standout feature that differentiates it from Maida’s past, with the exception of a couple of Healthy In Paranoid Times’s (Our Lady Peace’s sixth and most recent album) more understated tracks. The tracks build from the bottom, generally starting with a beat or a simple melodic idea, and build from that base. For instance, ‘Sex Love And Honey,’ one of four tracks that first appeared on the Love Hope Hero EP last year, supplements a strong break beat with a simple guitar chord progression and light smatterings of piano and ghostly female backing vocals, both courtesy of Raine’s wife Chantal Kreviazuk.

‘China Doll’ is more melodic than most, but the focus is still firmly on the words, as Raine sings: “She’s sweet like honey, sour like democracy [...] she’ll be your greatest lover, but she doesn’t belong to you.” Impressively, the ambiguity is such that it could just as easily be read as a passionate yearning for a sometimes lover as it could its true inspiration, man’s destruction of the earth and the environment. Intense closer ‘One Second Chance,’ another track promoted from the EP, is more explicit than that. He mourns the lack of political action is today’s society, rapping: “I saw Abbie Hoffman’s ghost in the distance. We’ve got Saul Williams keeping up the resistance. ‘Cause our politicians they don’t have a position.” ‘Earthless’ shifts the focus back down to earth, charting the struggle of a young girl to fit in and find her own place in the world. “ she’s courageous but scared to death- but that’s what courage means.”

‘Careful What You Wish For,’ opens the album with an aggressive piano motif reminiscent of Dresden Dolls. It’s one of the more dynamic and heavily orchestrated tracks on the album, and also one of the highlights. Maida becomes ever more agitated as he and Chantal play off each other’s vocals, though it’s his mother he addresses as he imagines leaving for California. “I’m an Italian Catholic punk and I’m on my way.” His uncertainty shines through, as it often does through the course of the album, in the tagline, “I’ll be careful what I wish for in this life, ‘cause I know I’ll miss yesterday.” A newer track, (The More I Learn) ‘The Less I Know,’ is simpler in construction but more dynamic in speed and volume, culminating in a rip-roaring anti-Bush tirade by Sage Francis alumnus Jared Paul, taking a moving track to an equally thrilling climax.

With these exceptions and lead single ‘Yellow Brick Road,’ the only obvious crossover hit, the bulk of the tracks stick to the formula of using the minimum number of instruments for the greatest effect, and Maida handles the balance perfectly. Lyrically and musically, The Hunters Lullaby is more consistently brilliant than anything the singer’s been part of since Happiness Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jerrydavidson
December 31st 2007



102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love this album

Neoteric
December 31st 2007



3243 Comments


quite good review.

plane
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2007



6085 Comments


I'm always surprised at how I can stomach this when I listen to it, but I like it a lot.

plane
Staff Reviewer
December 31st 2007



6085 Comments


Actually yeah, just his voice. But I like it a lot, especially "Sex Love and Honey."This Message Edited On 12.31.07

Aficionado
January 1st 2008



1027 Comments


^^I totally agree, I mean the second half of "Supernan's Dead" is intense mainly because of his vocals.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2008



2634 Comments


Yeah, this album is really, really great. 'Bout time you submitted this, I was wondering if you were going to publish this anytime soon.

foreverendeared
January 4th 2008



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is amazing

KritikalMotion
January 6th 2008



2261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is excellent. Love his voice.

jrowa001
January 13th 2008



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i finally picked this up. its fucking awesome

skullcrusher149
January 26th 2008



560 Comments


I'm too scared to buy this album because "Yellow Brick Road" is so standard/shitty.

KritikalMotion
January 26th 2008



2261 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Its my least favourite track i think.

MrKite
January 26th 2008



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Yellow Brick Road" is so standard/shitty.

I agree to a certain extent on the standard part, but not at all on the shitty part. It's a pretty sweet song.

skullcrusher149
January 26th 2008



560 Comments


the lyrics make it shitty IMO. sounds like he's trying too hard to be smart and insightful.

ohpm500
January 28th 2008



12 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

although i'm usually put-off by albums with a strong political emphasis (popular music in my book is entertainment, something so overtly cynical as a political agenda just doesn't seem like an attractive prospect to me..) that's not really why i find The hunter's lullaby an uattractive listen. Sure a couple of the songs are listenable, it generally feels like Maida is simply trying too hard to make statements. Whatever he's trying to communcate gets lost in simple and trite lyrics, whilst the music itself tends to get repetitive and Maida's voice quickly grates.

Perhaps it requires further listening but to be quite honest, with such great music coming out at the moment, i'd rather spend time listening to junior senior or the 1990's. now that sounds like fun!

skullcrusher149
January 29th 2008



560 Comments


it generally feels like Maida is simply trying too hard to make statements.


yeah dude, that's spot on!

Jom
Staff Reviewer
April 10th 2008



2634 Comments


"The Snake and the Crown" has been on repeat for hours now. It's my new favorite track behind the classic "Yellow Brick Road."

Jom
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2008



2634 Comments


The only thing I dislike on this record is the 1-2 punch of "China Doll" and "Rat Race." They're not bad songs, but I tend to skip them to get to the closer. First seven songs are all sorts of awesome.

plane
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2008



6085 Comments


good enough to feature again!

MrGlass
February 19th 2009



326 Comments


Hadn't listened to this in over a year, just gave it a spin, and it hit me waaay harder than before. So much own.

deathschool
January 4th 2014



6182 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sex Love and Honey is one of my favorite songs ever. Everything else on here is so middle of the road mediocre. Why?

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