With his new What Were You Hoping For?, Van Hunt employs a spare but dizzyingly vibrant meld of day-glo psychedelic soul laced with glammed-up riffs and the acerbic energy of punk. A joint venture between the Nashville-based Thirty Tigers and Hunt’s own label, godless-hotspot, the album sees the Grammy-winning musician/songwriter/producer turning up the volume on his genre-smashing songcraft and the results are altogether gripping. From the breakneck “Watching You Go Crazy Is Driving Me Insane” and “A Time Machine Is My New Girlfriend” to the metallic k.o. of the album’s first single,“Eyes Like Pearls,” Hunt unleashes a sound that reverberates with caustic wit, passion, and the thrilling excitement of an artist operating at the peak of his powers. Careening with exhilarating intensity and frenetic, inventive musicality, What Were You Hoping For? is Van Hunt’s most daring and provocative work to date.
“I’m really excited about this record,” Hunt says. “I love the way it sounds. I’m nervous about the way it’ll be received, even by big Van Hunt fans, and I think that’s good. I want the record to be disruptive.”
Hunt first fell in thrall to the power of music from an early age, taking inspiration from a remarkable range of musicians and composers, spanning J.S. Bach to David Bowie, Thelonious Monk to Curtis Mayfield, Iggy Pop to The Isley Brothers. The Dayton, Ohio-born musician soon made his way to Atlanta, where he drew acclaim for his creative production efforts and crafty songwriting, featured on recordings by such diverse artists as Dionne Farris, Joi, Rahsaan Patterson, and Cree Summer.
His own self-titled debut album arrived in 2004, instantly establishing Hunt as a distinctive and original talent with its idiosyncratic amalgamation of R&B, neo-soul, funk, pop, and rock ‘n’ roll (not to mention earning him a 2005 “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” Grammy nomination for his breakthrough hit single, “Dust”). The equally inventive On The Jungle Floor followed two years later, highlighted by the single, “Character.”