On Love Is a Hunter, Rae Spoon draws from a very similar palette from 2008’s breakthrough Superioryouareinferior —simple, guitar-driven folk with generous dollops of electronic instrumentation — but here, he sets his sights on more personal themes. Previously, he was concerned with lofty matters like neo-colonialism; Hunter, largely written during a stint in Berlin last year, explores love from every angle: The pursued and the pursuer, the left and the leaver, the one-night stand and the lifelong partner.
The centrepiece from start to finish is Rae’s riveting vibrato. Firm, confident and powerful, it ties together disparate threads such as “Dangerdangerdanger,” a club-friendly anthem celebrating queer communities worldwide, and “Bethelightbethelightbethelight,” a gently-strummed lament for a romance on the rocks. Lyrically, Hunter is just as compelling: “Joan,” a duet with Lucas Silvera of the Cliks, explores the importance of solidarity in the trans community, estranged “because we’re not obligated to be a woman or a man.”
Still, great albums need great tunes, and there’s no better example than “Monsters,” a song about the terrible things we do to our most beloved. From its stripped-down original form, which can still be viewed on YouTube, Rae and co-producer Lorrie Matheson flesh out a fantastic studio version, with brushed snare and picked electric leading into a rollicking crescendo, a tempo change, and a perfectly paced finish.