Review by Anthony Cruz, Jasmine Ortiz

February 13, 2016 – Hunter Valentine – The Pledge EP

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, the rock band Hunter Valentine has been fighting for years to make its voice heard loudly in the music scene. Even in a genre that is very heavily dominated by men, this group, comprised entirely of women, fights to get its voice recognized in the music industry; their next release does a great job of showing that. Their forthcoming The Pledge EP holds a truly unique, undeniably catchy sound, suitable for casual afternoons at home, bonfires, and nearly anything in between. While it breaks genre barriers with its pop-oriented style, it is still clearly influenced by the many great emo pop, indie rock, and pop punk bands–one might describe them as Say Anything meets Bayside meets Arctic Monkeys. Having self-financed their first EP release in 2005 and still continuing in the music industry to this day, these hard-hitting alternative rockers from Toronto also know very well what it really means to fight for their dreams. This EP is sure to leave the big mark that they’ve been pushing for.

Having been produced by Tom Thatcher, the late lead guitarist of hit pop punk band, Sum 41, it was inevitable that hook-heavy rock songs would dominate this EP. The opening track, “Hurricane,” is a perfect example of this; the intro to the song is a cheerful “ah” sequence, followed by a mainstream-style verse and a very easy-listening chorus. My personal favorite, “Sick Sister,” also has such a chorus–one that is very easy to learn and will easily get anyone moving on their feet. After hearing it just twice, I was already singing along. While the next few songs on the EP gradually turn down the tempo, the upbeat energy remains, expressing the positive theme that the compilation already entails. As we approach the finale, “The Pledge,” the sound is more mellow and uplifting, creating an atmosphere of peace, unity and empowerment.

Forming in 2004 and having released their first EP in 2005, the band has a long track record to show its prestige over time. It is evident from the vocal work, instrumentals, and overall cohesiveness of this particular release that the band has undergone a great deal of maturation since its early days in Toronto. Despite the many comparisons that could be made between this band and the pioneers of its influencing genres, one of the band’s primary edges is its destruction of genre barriers. While this EP is not exclusively pop punk, indie rock, or emo pop, it brilliantly synthesizes various aspects of each of these genres, and more, to produce a unique, all-encompassing record; one that fans of many different branches of rock music can enjoy. Although this is to be the final release from Hunter Valentine, it is inarguably a great ending to the band’s longstanding career.  For music enthusiasts, casual fans, and everything in between, this album is a must-hear for 2016.

Catch Hunter Valentine on their So Long For Now Tour.

FFO: Sick of Sarah, The Cliks, Allison Weiss, Tegan and Sara