Oh, the literacy! Regards begins on a somewhat cynical note, weaving vague stories about vague story weavers hiding in their beds, alone. It’s hard not to smile (wryly) and Regards proves to be as engaging musically as it is lyrically. Wirzba and Co. have studied their brainy alt-rock and worked the genre down, incorporating pieces of Eastern Canadian folk and Western Canadian country. Most importantly, Hunger Hush tells a lot of stories: personal stories that might be true, cosmic stories that must be true somewhere, stories of love and loneliness and failure, and (perhaps most surprisingly) stories about liking Calgary. Standout track, “Cautious Dinosaurs,” appeals to the romantically nervous with its refraining, “No one fails to score like I do,” but the music tells the listener something different with its spot-on drums and bass, timeless rotary organ and the guitar’s perfect “sweet spot” overdrive. These things betray a steadier, more confident group than the lyrics might have you believe. Hunger Hush’s songs feel relatable but because the listener relates to the stories, not necessarily the storytellers, the band is free to say whatever they see fit. Everything comes together nicely into an intensely self-aware rock ‘n’ roll record, refreshing in every way and well worth your time.
By John Julius