When it comes to the local music scene around these parts, it seems we are in abundance of prolific artists. Our scene may be whatever it is you think it is—synth pop heavy, indie rock centered—you name it, one thing you should be able to agree on, whatever your qualms may be with the local scene, that diversity is never something we seem to have too much of. With this diversity in mind, I invite you to talk a step a little bit back in time with RF Shannon, who seem to have found a way to take you back to the days of Rhythm and Blues through the lens of alternative rock.
Hunting Songs is RF Shannon’s debut release, and at five songs and almost thirty minutes in length, one might consider this a savory introduction to their ‘desert R&B’ style. The group kicks things off with “Egyptian White Musk,” and you can instantly grasp what exactly is indicated by this genre; ambient noise generates a feeling of desolation before the bluesy guitars kick in and the slow percussion lulls you into a delicate trance. Vocalist, Shane Renfro soon croons his way into the song, and straight into your heart. With his soft, haunting vocals at the core of the music, he harrows back to the days of yesteryear of singer/songwriter reign ala Jeff Buckley or the likes; you also get a little contemporary aspects of his mellow pipes that remind me of Zach Condon. Their sound is refined and yet not over-processed, a lovely balance of slow rock and raw emotion.
Though there isn’t a track you will need, or have any desire, to skip through on Hunting Songs, I daresay it would be impossible to neglect the overwhelming beauty of “Twin Flame,” the penultimate track. Here, RF Shannon is at their bluesy best—the guitar takes center stage, complimented by the slow rolling drums, punching forward deliberately. The choral arc of the song is hauntingly resonant and all of the elements of this group mix together for a shining moment of radiance: I can’t get enough of it. If this wasn’t enough, the finale of the album challenges the slot of favorite track and the group gets back into their slow groove to round the album out.
That’s the thing about Hunting Songs: each seems to build upon the last, and yet strike into new territory. It’s short and utterly sweet, so please do yourself a favor and spend a bit of money on this album that will transport yourself elsewhere. Or go catch RF Shannon playing somewhere around town: you won’t regret it in the slightest.