We begin our journey with moderate rock singer/songwriter Gordy Hunt in his new album Mood Swings with the delightful sway of “Just Can’t Leave Her,” arguably the perfect tone-setter to kick of any tracklist, and although its heady harmonies and light grooves are intoxicating to say the least, they’re only representative of a small glimpse into what this LP has in store for all who give it a listen. Mood Swings keeps the upbeat energy rolling with the self-explanatory “Make out Music” before sliding into some brooding, sax-driven melodicism ala “Point of View,” and if these first three songs don’t have your hips shaking, I don’t know what else would this season. Gordy Hunt is pulling out the big guns here, and that’s easy for both longtime listeners and new fans to appreciate.
“Broken in Two” invites a bit of acoustic balladry into the fold for Mood Swings that stands in total contrast to the old fashioned swagger of “Wine, Women and Song,” which despite being mostly acoustic in structure is one of the most memorable tracks here, and surprisingly enough, the aesthetical differences between the two actually complement each other more than they conflict. The monolithic jam “Ransacked Hearts” brings us to the midway point in the record on a high note, and although it’s preceded by a diverse lineup of material, I think that the eclecticism of this LP’s first half is partly what makes it so hard to put down after it’s been picked up for the very first time. There’s nothing formulaic about Mood Swings, which isn’t something I’ve been able to say about a lot of indie records coming across my desk lately.
At almost eight and a half minutes in total length, “Wasted Time” is by far the longest song on this album, but it doesn’t feel bloated or extended beyond what it should have been at all. On the contrary, this track allows Hunt to stretch his compositional legs in the style of Neil Young – there are no barriers to come between his narrative and the audience here, nor in “Powerless” and the heart-stopping “Sweet Coffee,” and he utilizes every bit of space in this master mix to make us feel all of the emotion he’s so boldly wearing on his sleeve.
“Elephant in the Room” provides us another shot of gentle swing as we prepare to enter the haunting ballad “A Woman’s Touch,” one of the more powerfully evocative tunes in the album’s second act, but next to the concluding number in “Stomping Grounds,” I don’t think either of these songs capture the scope of Hunt’s artistry as it currently stands today as well as this final bow does. “Stomping Grounds” brings us full-circle to where we first began with “Just Can’t Leave Her” and, in my opinion, teases us with the idea that Gordy Hunt’s best days are still ahead of him. This is a singer/songwriter who refuses to accept the status quo in or out of the recording studio, and in Mood Swings, he raises the bar for both himself and the scene that gave him his start.