The Wolf that Peter built

Pub date July 5, 2006
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

Prohibition saw the blossoming of alcoholic communing. Antismoking laws brought smokers closer together. So what about this musical wolf craze, Wolfmothers and Wolfkings, the endless urge to shape-shift? We’re becoming more human.
Note the outpouring of pop collectives that are truly collective. Observe Austin, Texas’s Peter and the Wolf, Red Hunter’s experimental folk project, whose acoustic performances in graveyards, in abandoned buses, even on an island, have put them on the map. For the island gig, Hunter said, speaking from his hometown the day before his current tour began, “People rowed out! We’re not trying to get back to nature; we’re just all about finding weird places to play.”
On the East Coast, Hunter will be joined by Jana Hunter — no relation — and the Castanets for a tour via sailboat. Originally just “bar talk” about alternative-energy means of touring, the sailboat is now ready and willing. The quest for “polypropylene Bermuda shorts” has trumped other logistical concerns.
On Peter and the Wolf (Whiskey and Apples), Dana Falconberry adds an angelic vocal counterpart to Hunter’s raw folk sound. Imagine the Ditty Bops — who’ve been touring by bicycle — without the in-your-face theatricality. Each acoustic, indie-loungey tune on Peter and the Wolf is punctuated like a single snippet of conversation. In “How I Wish,” the duo beckons, “Meet me on the wooden bridge/We will smoke and then we’ll wander.” In the postbeat dreamscape “What Happened Up There …,” past lives mingle with present lusts.
In Scotland, I drank surprisingly trippy alcoholic homebrew, a friend’s Irish family recipe. Moonshine. Hooch. Stumpblaster. Whatever, man, if we’re on the road to ruin, we might as well see it up close and personal. For Hunter and his hunters this summer, every campfire is a carnival waiting to happen. When, someday, we finally tell our stories, he predicts on the animistic “The Fall,” we will be gloriously “Desperate and serious/The chasing will be furious.”
Apocalypses aside, everyone’s talking about two things these days: the energy crisis and Matthew Barney’s annoying insistence on big-budget “restraint.” Well, Prokofiev probably wouldn’t have produced his every-instrument-is-an-animal Peter and the Wolf without Stalin’s caustic commie prodding. But Hunter needs no such restriction. His energy leaps through the seams. “Do you think of me when he’s boring you/I’ll bet you do,” he sings on “Silent Movies.” Now that’s a man I can believe in. (Ari Messer)
With Viking Moses, Casual Fog, and Terrors
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