On July 19, the Ventura-bred indie-alternative band HUNNY released their debut album, “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” Their first LP followed four years of mild success marked by a cult fanbase and a handful of EPs and singles.
Their live shows are described as “communal” and they work to make their fans part of the comprehensive experience. The music matches this energy — up-beat, danceable and commanding of a crowd to sing along.
Bassist and pianist Kevin Grimmlet told Epitaph Records, “We really love the emotive aspect of playing a show. For this record, we really took the time to think about what we were going to give them to sing, and made sure that it’s something with real feeling and meaning to it.”
HUNNY’s music, past and present, is reminiscent of the prominent alternative pop bands of the early 2010s such as Catfish and the Bottlemen. Lead singer Jason Yarger carries the melody with his voice, but never truly exceeds expectations — the magic is in the music itself.
“Yes.” and HUNNY’s past releases feature synth next to all the colloquial instruments — bass, guitar and drums, intertwining modern and vintage. From track to track, we jump from 1980 to 2010, New Order to Brand New.
“Yes.” begins with “Lula, I’m Not Mad,” a layered, tricky track. Dynamic levels and vocal intensity shift as the song goes on, a synth accent in the background seemingly growing more agitated or panicked.
Yarger sings, “I tried to get your attention / But it's deeply useless and frequently painful / Your shadow class is cold as rain / As it casts upon my own,” using the extended metaphor of a hospital bed throughout the track to express his pain.
With HUNNY, the music is only the surface. Their EPs and albums are recorded to sound good live, to evoke a certain emotion from the audience. Their charisma and verve shine through the melodic synth and powerful vocals, but the music is only one layer of HUNNY.
A Thrasher interview with the band described the atmosphere at their shows as, “some sort of chemical reaction in fans, causing their legions to throw notes, flowers and other sundries on stage—a level of reverence rivaling the last uncanceled Morrissey show I attended.”
Their stage presence brings people together on the grounds of love and joy, urging something more like a group hug than a mosh pit.
“Yes.” as a stand-alone album fits the criteria of the perfect summer pop album. It’s dynamic, yet familiar, something that would fade into the background as you lay on the beach. But I don’t think HUNNY can be judged at face value.
The pop synth and brooding lyrics make for fun songs to blast while driving down the highway, but HUNNY is more than that. HUNNY is about the community and what this band can do for you in one night of live music. Go introduce yourself to HUNNY, stream “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” But more importantly, if you like it, try to make it to one of their concerts — you won’t regret it and will love them more for it.