Album Review: Ian Hunter – Defiance Part 1

4/5

Seven years after his last solo effort, Ian Hunter comes back… well, as defiant as ever with Defiance Part 1, 10 remarkable songs of unpretentious, suffix-free rock.

The former frontman for Mott The Hoople even brought along a slew of friends for this one, including Slash and Duff McKagan, Jeff Tweedy, Jeff Beck, Todd Rundgren and a host of others. And Hunter manages to sound as relevant as he’s ever been, five decades into his career.

Hunter used the pandemic lockdowns as an excuse to start writing new songs and sending them along to his musician buddies. “Everybody’s sitting around,” says Hunter. “It’s COVID. Nobody’s going anywhere. We started sending them out. Slash started doing something. Robert Trujillo from Metallica. Ringo Starr, Mike Campbell. Joe Elliott is on a few tracks. Johnny Depp said ‘Jeff Beck’s with me, and we’d like to do a couple of songs.’ I know Todd Rundgren; I toured with Todd way back. He’s done an amazing job. Billy Gibbons. Billy Bob Thornton and JD Andrew from The Boxmasters. It’s never ending. I mean, every day we’d get a phone call; this guy wants to do it; that guy wants to do it. It was like, ‘I can’t believe this.’”

Rather than come across like a forced, celebrity-filled vanity album, Defiance Part 1 fits perfectly alongside Hunter’s latter solo albums like Shrunken Head and Man Overboard.

Despite the global mood when album was conceived, the record manages to not be weighed down by anger and frustration, but actually weave themes of optimism and hope throughout with some ferocious guitar leads. Songs like the opening track “Defiance” (featuring Slash on guitar and Trujillio on bass), “I Hate Hate,” and “Pavlov’s Dog” (featuring Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz, all from Stone Temple Pilots) are some of the most raucous songs Hunter has recorded in decades.

The record in its entirety is remarkably fun and proof that Hunter is still at the top of his game.

Purchase this album.

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