Hunter Valentine: “Collide and Conquer” Album Review

Written By: Mandi Lauren Nowitz

Twitter: @3icecubes

Hunter Valentine is Canadian band of bad ass Joan Jett’s, originally formed by Kiyomi McCloskey and Laura Petracca in 2004, with McCloskey providing vocals and guitar and Petracca on drums. Three years later, they released their debut album “The Impatient Romantic” on True North Records. Following some success with that, they went on to release three EP’s and eventually the album “Collide and Conquer,” in 2012, which boats the best of Hunter Valentine, in my opinion. The music off of this disc would go on to get featured on season 3 of the Showtime reality seriesThe Real L Word,as would the four-piece band and the ups and downs of balancing a social life with touring.

Hunter Valentine continued their time on reality TV, appearing on VH1’s Make or Break: The Linda Perry Projectthen opened up for Cyndi Lauper and landed a spot on the Vans Warped Tour. Kiyomi and Laura have been the constants in the band since it formed so what has kept them in HV for the long haul? Kiyomi explained how the duo met in SHE Magazine: “We met in the first gay club I ever went to. I always knew I was gonna do music. I was gonna do something regardless of whether I did this or not. When I met Laura we had an immediate connection and after we had a session together and played music we found out that we had a musical connection. After we started playing together we both realized we were gonna do this for a long time.” They have yet to prove us wrong.

What I love about “Collide and Conquer” is the mix of Melissa Etheridge rock along with some painful ballads, like “Crying” and “This Bull Rides Tonight.” There is a power when a band comes together, as tight as them, musically; the guitars are sharp but always on key and Petracca’s drumming sends the chills down a music lovers spine as McCloskey’s voice never fails to wow. The band spoke with and Laura had this to say about the album: For Collide and Conquer, we wanted to branch out and really push ourselves and create sounds and songs that were outside of our comfort zone.” Kiyomi added: “A lot of the time bands go into the studio with a sound they want but we sort of let every song live on its own and develop into its own sound. The result of that is a really broad, well-balanced and differently arranged record. There’s still a ton of cohesiveness, but there’s a lot of variety.” Preach!

Here are three of my favorite tracks from this album, which consists of eleven in total.

1) Liar Liar: this is on my playlist and one of my absolute favorite tracks from them. The musicality blends so well with Kiyomi’s vocals as well as the powerful lyrics: You said we’d keep this pact forever. A polite way of laying your curse from the start. You had your hands inside my pockets. Taking away everything I own.” Heartbreak is a bitch.

2) The Pulse: Chicks kicking ass and taking names, with hints of P!nk in the vocals. They both did work with Linda Perry so that is no big surprise. See I been chasing your shadow. It never stays in one place. I’ve been fighting the distance of this never ending race.”

3) Crying: I just love this song. The arrangement, the passion, the feels that you get when chicks really know how to put their heart and soul into something, unashamed. “We love the conflict, love the hardship, love the loss of feeling. Love the giving up, disputes and lack of healing. This thing of beauty has not fallen short from ugly. I saw it in other people and just not me.” I can say that we have all felt these emotions at some point in our lives and thanks to HV, they have been conveyed.

Let’s just say they have definitely conquered and beyond that, they have truly made a name for themselves in music with this album.