Ian Hunter and the Rant Band - When I'm President
You may know him as leader of rock legends Mott The Hoople, or as a stand out solo artist in his own right, Ian Hunter's career has spanned over 50 years. At his height he worked with the finest and collaborated with David Bowie, When I'm President is the 20th album in a very distinguished career.
Despite now being in his 70's there are no signs of aging on this record. Previous solo albums Shrunken Heads and Man Overboard focused on very strong anti-Republican themes but When I'm President is much happier and upbeat. Given his musical experience it's unavoidable to use the phrase 'dad-rock' at some point in this review. There are overtures of a 70's rock style and a rhythm and blues feel to the instrumental sections of some of the songs. Wild Bunch is a track that if it were not for the incredibly distinctive, 40 cigarettes-a-day husky vocals could be part of a Status Quo set list.
I'm not condemning this album to being played only on classic rock radio, but given Hunter's musical past you understand that this isn't a sound alike. It's the seventies style re-imagined, re-worked and re-developed for the modern era. All the young dudes may have the acclaim and the history but I feel that When I'm President is equally if not the finest work that Hunter has produced. There is real skill and maturity in the writing, a mixed bag of brooding and booming songs.
Ta Shunka Witco is a track that really stood out as being quite ethereal and brooding; jagged intimacy that plays to the strengths of Hunter's voice. Credit has to also go to the Rant Band, as they are flawless throughout the record. Other standout tracks from this album for me were Comfortable, which was a real classic rock and roller of a start to the album; Black Tears, which is a dark and bittersweet ballad; and Life, which was a beautifully delicate parting track.
This album may instantly appeal to the dads out there, but Ian Hunter is not a waning candle. His talent as a singer and as a writer still holds strong and I'd recommend this to anyone who is a fan of good, timeless rock music.