The year was 1859 when Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi of currant-filled-biscuit fame trudged across the snow-capped peaks in the shadow of the Matterhorn, trailed diligently by his special military corps in the midst of the Second Italian War of Independence. Like his namesake, lead vocalist Mario Giancarlo Garibaldi utilises the moniker of those intrepid soldiers for Peruvian (now Miami-based) synth pop outfit: Hunters of the Alps.
With the vigour and enthusiasm of a potential employee at a job interview, the band launches everything in their arsenal at self-titled EP opener, ‘Time (How to Love).’ ‘Isn’t it a shame we’re wasting time’ muses Garibaldi with Morrissey-esque apathy, over the piercing strums of guitarist Jorge Velásquez and Alex De Renzis’s energetic percussion, while smatterings of melancholic synths gasp for air below the surface.
Elsewhere, ‘It’s You’ pulls Christopher Walken’s portrayal of producer Bruce Dickinson into the studio to shout passionately about the need for ‘more cowbell’ on a bridge that demonstrates the band are at their best when they want you to dance.
Yet for all their musical competency Hunters of the Alps often harken back to other artists, with the wall of sound introduction of ‘Light Away’ evoking the sonic expanses of M83 and the preliminary drum machine of ‘The Pace’ referring back to classic New Order, herein lies the band’s biggest weakness; the lack of a definable voice. That said the EP is a fitting introduction to what the group have to offer and maybe if they keep lumbering across that vast alpine landscape eventually they’ll stumble upon some gold.
Written by: Matthew Barnard